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Georgia

Tech start-ups get boost from scholarships offered by a local business club.

Georgia entrepreneurs who want to put their new technology company on the fast track but can't afford an incubator's price of admission may qualify for scholarships. The Resource Forum, a private business club for tech start-ups, entrepreneurs and a large corporation, has teamed up with corporate sponsors to create the New Enterprise Launch Program, which offers partial scholarship to business owners interested in enrolling in their Farm System for Start-Ups. The program concentrates on helping entrepreneurs get their ventures up and running within 90 days.

Qualified applicants, all of whom have gained membership in the club, must have at least a rough business plan or executive summary for their business ideas. Those selected can qualify for scholarship of $2,000 to $8,000 to help defray the cost of the program, which can be up to $10,000.

Once accepted into the Farm System for Start-Ups, entrepreneurs make presentations before a panel of professional coaches in fields including law, accounting, marketing, public relations and human resources. The panel provides a verbal and written assessment of each idea, then business owners meet individually with coaches to refine their concepts. Next, the Resource Forum helps each entrepreneur create and perfect a presentation they can take to venture capitalist or strategic partners. Once that's accomplished, entrepreneurs can either search for funding on their own ask the Research Forum to represent them to its network of investors.

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This article was originally published in the October 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Georgia.

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