Startup Atlanta Launches Non-Profit to Support Local Ecosystem

Executive Director Bess Weyandt brings dynamic experience to Atlanta’s innovation and entrepreneurship support organization

After over a year of community-led conversations that identified a need for a central startup support hub, Startup Atlanta is launching as an independent non-profit led by Executive Director Bess Weyandt.

Weyandt will lead the expansion of Startup Atlanta’s capacity to connect the innovators, capital, and support organizations that comprise Atlanta’s startup ecosystem. A board of directors and an advisory board are in formation.

Prior to joining Startup Atlanta, Weyandt served as Chief Operating Officer of Flashpoint, the startup accelerator at Georgia Tech whose alumni include Ionic Security, Pindrop Security, and Badgy, among others. She brings a diverse background in community and political engagement and fundraising to the position both in Atlanta and abroad.

“Bess Weyandt’s experience in the local community and Atlanta’s startup environment will serve our organization well,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, Business Development Managing Director at Invest Atlanta and Startup Atlanta Board Chair. “The assets, resources and enthusiasm found in Atlanta’s startup community and Bess’s leadership is a winning combination — I am confident we will fulfill our vision to create a world-renowned startup ecosystem.”

“It is a real honor to have the opportunity to work with the many energetic and effective people involved in Atlanta’s startup community. Startup Atlanta has the potential to engage and connect the numerous assets our City offers — world-class colleges and universities, a strong, diverse talent pool, numerous Fortune 500 companies, programs and events for entrepreneurs, and a legacy of thinking big — to our startups,” Weyandt said. “Our organization will work to connect our City’s innovators with the knowledge and resources needed for their success.”

“Atlanta has had some impressive startup success stories which we will herald and advocate for so that Atlanta is recognized as a top-tier city for innovation, scalable business, and job creation,” Weyandt concluded.

A product of the Atlanta Public Schools, Weyandt holds a B.A. from Smith College and a Masters degree from the Savannah College of Art & Design.

In 2011, Invest Atlanta convened a roundtable of key organizations dedicated to entrepreneurial development. The project was launched in August 2012 and the group quickly created a vision to lead their efforts: to make Atlanta nationally and internationally recognized for entrepreneurship.

In its initial phase, four founding partners have been instrumental in supporting and operationalizing the organization including Metro Atlanta Chamber, Entrepreneurs Organization, Atlanta Technology Angels and Invest Atlanta. In addition, Morris, Manning and Martin; Bennett Thrasher; and O’Neill Communications are providing pro bono legal, accounting and communications services.

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SOURCE: StartUp Atlanta