Georgia’s Entrepreneur Friendly program has resulted in 50 counties, including Cherokee County, earning the status of an Entrepreneur Friendly community.
The Entrepreneur Friendly program developed its roots in 2004, under the direction of Governor Perdue. There was an apparent need to create a more supportive environment to foster the growth of the small business sector. The program has flourished due to the overwhelming support from local communities including Cherokee County.
Once a community elects to participate in the program, they develop an Entrepreneur Friendly Advisory Board, which is comprised of a variety of local small business owners. They are assigned a small business representative from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and work together to analyze their business environment. This includes surveying other similar small businesses to ascertain whether they have received adequate support and further documenting any strategies that would encourage growth in the small business community.
Once the assessment is completed, the board participates in a full-day evaluation of their findings by a review team from the GDEcD staff as well as various other government agencies, in order to earn the designation of an Entrepreneur Friendly community.
Some of the assistance available to small businesses as a result of this program includes:
Business Start Up Kit – Contains valuable information on opening and running a business specific to your community. These available for downloading from various local government and chamber of commerce web sites.
Mentoring Program – The board will be implementing a mentoring program, where existing business owners will provide advice to new business hopefuls.
Entrepreneurs of the Month - This is an opportunity for local businesses to be publicly recognized.
Market Data Availability- Small business owners in Entrepreneur Friendly communities will gain access to customized market data to assist in their business plans.
This innovative attitude and support for entrepreneurship has created a self-sustaining and optimistic economic environment. To date, 95 percent of Georgia companies are comprised of small businesses. The success of these ventures has contributed greatly to Georgia's overall economic well being.