In this deep-dive episode, show host David Ponraj speaks with Melody Echols and Jeff Morris, pioneers in entrepreneurship-led economic development. They discuss the implementation and tracking of Technical Assistance in Greater Atlanta through several programs: ATLInBusiness, the Open for Business Program, the Tyler Perry tax payment program, and more.

Melody and Jeff work for Invest Atlanta, the City of Atlanta’s economic development authority. Their goal is to create economic prosperity and vibrant communities in and around Atlanta. Both Melody and Jeff specialize in programs to help with access to, and knowledge of, resources in underprivileged communities. In this episode, they speak on TA programming, in partnership with local business consultants. These localized partners specialize in HR, tax, marketing, social media, accounting, and finance. Educating small businesses on these programs through local partners helps to alleviate skepticism in utilizing free business resources. A portal is available using Startup Space to track the business owners’ interactions with the technical assistance provider, while recording progress and measuring impact.

This engaging episode emphasizes the importance of how entrepreneurship can truly drive economic development. At the time of this podcast, more than a dozen consultants have partnered with Invest Atlanta, assisting 200 businesses, and totaling 3,000+ hours of consulting. These initiatives also track new jobs being created, as well as new businesses being started.

Connect with Melody Echols and Jeff Morris on LinkedIn, and visit InvestAtlanta.com for the most up-to-date information on entrepreneurship assistance in Atlanta.


About Breaking Down Barriers
A Podcast About Entrepreneurship-Led Economic Development
This podcast explores entrepreneurship as part of the economic developer’s toolkit for building prosperity in our communities. Episodes feature changemakers with innovative approaches to building ecosystems and improving the environment to empower people to start and grow their businesses. Conversations focus on breaking down barriers that limit entrepreneurship in underserved and historically excluded communities. We seek authentic stories to understand the profound impact of entrepreneurship-led economic development on the local economy and spotlight a network of passionate leaders advancing the field. Find out more at economicimpactcatalyst.com/impact

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