Club Entrepreneur, or Club E, an organization for aspiring startups and established business owners, will host a grand opening event June 27 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for its facility at 3707 Main St. in downtown College Park. The event is a companion ceremony to its May ribbon-cutting.
Its managing partner, Bob Johnson, and the College Park director of economic development, Barbara Coffee, founded the second Club E location in the U.S., following the Phoenix, Ariz., startup model.
The city was awarded a $150,000 federal grant to develop an entrepreneurial center and earmarked it for the club, which began meeting in June 2011.
Two years later, the public-private partnership will host a grand opening for its 11,000-square-foot facility next week.
“What we are is an empowerment zone,” Johnson said in a statement.
Hundreds of dignitaries, citizens and entrepreneurs attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Johnson has leased most of the permanent suites in the facility, which will also feature dozens of temporary stations for entrepreneurs who need to rent office space by the day or the hour.
“The energy in the building will be different than what a typical entrepreneur is accustomed to,” said Johnson. “Club E Atlanta will feed off the creative energy of the people and a strong sense of collaboration. It will become a gathering place for upcoming and seasoned entrepreneurs to mingle, along with the space to incubate their businesses.”
Peter J. Burns III, a principal at B3 Funding Partners and the founder of Club E, credited Johnson and Coffee with having the drive to make his vision of a collaborative workspace a reality.
“Club E Atlanta is a model for how the private and public sector can work together to revitalize a once vibrant downtown in small town America,” Burns said in a statement. “Through the hard work of Bob, Barbara and countless others, Club E Atlanta has taken old and unused space and jumpstarted a local economy with entrepreneurial initiatives like workshops.”
He said the concept is ripe for replication.
“The SBA grant both assisted and validated the Club E concept and created a model from which to work,” Burns said. “Downtown College Park now resonates with positive energy and hope for American entrepreneurship. Other communities could benefit from this.”
One Talent Inc., a program training at-risk girls in self-sufficiency skills, received the New Business Plan award at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, entitling the fledgling company with one year of free rent and $5,000 in Club E money.
Information: (678) 895-3109, bob.johnson@ClubEintl.com or www.clubeatlanta.com.