“WEI believe in the face of “Why” to always ask “Why Not” is the message plastered on the homepage of the Womens Entrepreneurship Initiative site.
The women’s business group commonly referred to as WEI, is the newest addition to downtown Atlanta and the city’s ever-growing business community. WEI is specifically designed to assist women entrepreneurs, as they start and cultivate their business. Backed by Mayor Kasim Reed’s promise to support women entrepreneurs, the Reed Administration and Invest Atlanta partnered to provide funding and office space for WEI.
Rolling Out interviewed WEI’s Executive Director Theia Washington Smith, who explained WEI’s vision and concept.
“There is a risk women take when going in to business for yourself. All businesses that start are not successful, and 90 percent do no make it past that two-year mark. WEI is the answer to the mayor’s vision and it is our call-to-action to support women entrepreneurs in this city. WEI provides the space, the access to the quality opportunities and resources that women need to grow and how do we do that in a way that ultimately shows the city of Atlanta stands behind and invests in it’s women entrepreneurs,” Smith told Rolling Out.
WEI officially launched in May 2016 and consists of an inaugural class of diverse Atlanta-based companies.
The 15 women-owned businesses were selected from over 100 applicants. WEI used a strict process to select businesses that aligned with the organizations mission.
The WEI site explains “Entry into the WEI Incubator is a competitive process, designed to curate from a pool of highly qualified candidates. While the scalability and sustainability of the business models is critical to the selection process, WEI also considers several factors specific to the woman who runs the business.”
Along with other requirements, some key factors included a demonstration of passion, drive, integrity and professional excellence.
The new class of WEI incubators will be vetted after 15 months, a specified time period of incubator completion.
WEI is located inside the Flatiron Building in downtown Atlanta.
For more WEI information or to support the organization, visit http://www.weiatlanta.com.