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Libra Group Social Responsibility

Student entrepreneurs of Georgia State University and community at-large set to win startup funding with Envolve for 2018 USA Award open to Atlanta

Washington D.C., July 13, 2018 –Today, Envolve Entrepreneurship, a 501(c)(3) entrepreneurship organization, announces the Envolve Award USA (formerly the American Entrepreneurship Award) is open to the Metro Atlanta community, along with its partnership with Georgia State University’s ENI Center. The Envolve Award is a regionally-focused business plan competition that recognizes the best examples of entrepreneurship among diverse and underserved entrepreneurs. The organization aims to embolden early-stage businesses by providing diverse entrepreneurs with easy access to capital, knowledge, and resources via its secure website – www.EnvolveGlobal.org.

The Envolve Award USA is open to experienced and budding entrepreneurs in demonstrably underserved communities across the nation. This year Envolve is delighted to announce the application is open to the entire Atlanta Metropolitan area for the first time, with special consideration for students and alum of Georgia State University.

In September, Georgia State University was named the fourth most innovative university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. A decade ago the university implemented a series of student success initiatives; since then graduate rates have increased by 22 percentage points.

The application is very straightforward via Envolve’s website, and winners will receive funding, mentorship, and a range of business support. Interested parties are encouraged to complete a simple online registration form to generate a user profile and submit their application. The overall competition is open to entrants from previous American Entrepreneurship Award legacy locations Miami-Dade County, Florida and the Bronx in New York City. Additionally, the 2018 competition expands to applicants from Washington DC, Baltimore, Atlanta, Charleston, Detroit, Flint, and the Greater New York City area. Registration commenced on June 27thand winners will be declared in late fall of 2018.

The launch marks the third annual cycle of entrepreneurship award programming for the newly rebranded organization. Envolve hopes that its expansion to new cities will increase awareness around the importance of supporting underserved entrepreneurs and how the provision of education and resources can serve as an impetus for success.

2016 award winners are enjoying great commercial success. In particular, CourtBuddy, an online legal services access company, has raised more than $1 million in capital following its award triumph. Meanwhile, winners from 2017 are gaining traction in numerous markets such as, beauty and skincare, food and beverage, healthy snacks, and environmental solutions.

To leverage its award programming and connect with underserved entrepreneurs in a meaningful way, Envolve partners with like-minded support organizations in each award location in order to contribute to the support of applicants and winners. In 2017, Cassius Butts, executive in residence at Georgia State’s Robinson College of Business, served as a participant on the external panel of judges charged with selecting winners for the cohort.

Commenting on the 2018 USA award launch in Atlanta, Christopher Upperman, CEO of Envolve stated: “We couldn’t be more excited to offer our competition to a new and broader group of diverse and multicultural individuals. As an alum of GSU it’s an honor to give back to the institution and its student body; and I’m humbled by their spirit of collaboration and partnership. GSU, the Metro Atlanta area and its entrepreneurship ecosystem is thriving and we want to do our part to support aspiring entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. With our 2018 award season underway, it’s our hope that we can encourage others to support worthy entrepreneurs through financial assistance, workshops, and other provisions. We are proud of our partners those who are as committed to inclusive entrepreneurship as we are, and look forward to working together to make dreams become a reality.”

“The Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University provides Atlanta’s employers one of the most talented and diverse potential employees of any business school in the United States today,” said Richard Phillips, dean of the Robinson College. “Our curriculum, focused on experiential opportunities conducted in partnership with Atlanta, ensures our students are comfortable with how real business works before they graduate. We are excited for Robinson students to participate in Envolve’s business plan competition.”

“We take particular pride in providing hard-working first-generation college students a supportive environment to pursue a first-rate education,” said Sanjay Srivastava, Robinson College associate dean for strategy and special projects. “Envolve’s focus on aspiring entrepreneurs from Georgia State seems quite natural.”

Envolve has pledged financial support of up to $250,000 in interest-free and no-equity business start-up and scale-up funding to be disbursed among multiple award winners throughout each region.

In 2018, the social responsibility division of global conglomerate, the Libra Group created Envolve. Envolve leverages the success of two entrepreneurship award programs: The Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award (HEA) and the American Entrepreneurship Award (AEA), founded by the Libra Group to stimulate economic growth, innovation, and social change. The awards have declared 35 winners across Greece and the USA since 2012, supporting job creation and economic growth. Envolve will continue this commitment to serve and develop individual entrepreneurs, along with cultivating ecosystems domestically and abroad.

*Photo taken by Jessica Furtney on Unsplash

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