The Cherokee Office of Economic Development Celebrates Second LaunchPad Bootcamp Graduates With Over $69,000 In Mini-Grants, Third Cohort Applications Open Now

WOODSTOCK, GA (July 9, 2024) – The Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) awarded over $69,000 in grants to the fourteen graduates from the second LaunchPad Bootcamp Series class. The second LaunchPad cohort kicked off on April 16 with fourteen participants. The free 4-week series comes as a partnership between COED and Kennesaw State University’s HatchBridge Incubator. It is designed to guide Cherokee’s emerging entrepreneurs in launching their business idea or new product to help them grow in the community.

LaunchPad Graduates

LaunchPad graduates include:

  • Bomb Babes | Kathryn Cruz
  • Beyond The Spotlight | Mindy Johnson
  • Blue Elixir Press | Dusty Beaulieu
  • Brand Authority Mastery | Edgar Herrera
  • Corridor Publishing | Gerald Griffith
  • Holcomb Financial | Hayden Holcomb
  • Launch Growth Marketing | Keren Herrera
  • Menagerie On Main | Jamie Foreman
  • Mermaid Fit Co. | Whitney Cain
  • Our Trailers Your Stuff | Gary Simmons & Cindy Thomas
  • Safer Home Services of North Metro Atlanta | Stephanie Villasenor
  • The Highlight Reel ATL | Lee Meyer & Matt Thomas
  • Wisewaters Arts & Designs | Nichole Landfair
  • Y-Not Sharp | Tony & Jill Whitfield

Each participant had the opportunity to earn up to $5,000 to advance their venture, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners. All fourteen graduates were eligible to apply and were awarded the mini-grant.

“The LaunchPad program has given us tools that we will revisit,” said Tony Whitefield of Y-Not Sharp. “The idea deck helped us drill down into what Y-Not Sharp is and communicate clearly what it has to offer. The Business Model Canvas allowed us to see the many aspects of our business and how they interact.”

Each week, ventures researched, refined and prepared their venture for launch. Participants walked away from the series with an idea deck, business model canvas and go-to market plan.

“I’ve been so busy running my business in autopilot and never really thought about [many of] the aspects we talked about,” said Dusty Beaulieu of Blue Elixir Press. “I now feel I’ll be able to focus better on my target demographic.”

The third LaunchPad Bootcamp cohort will be held at The Circuit Woodstock August 2, 9, 16 and 23 between 9:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. Applications are open until July 29 and can be submitted at The first LaunchPad Bootcamp Series held their last meeting on February 13. Out of 13 graduates, 11 were eligible to apply for the mini-grant. COED awarded $51,935 among those 11 for its inaugural session.

“We are so thankful this program was made possible,” said Lee Meyer of The Highlight Reel ATL. “I know we are a lucky community to have these services. We are grateful for the growth opportunities we have had.” COED collaborated with HatchBridge Incubator, an incubator service born from Kennesaw State University that helps grow startups in the Atlanta suburbs. HatchBridge also offers a co-working space to help entrepreneurs kick start their venture.

Learn more at This program is offered as part of COED’s Fresh Start Cherokee initiative, which aims to create a culture of entrepreneurship in Cherokee County. Visit to learn more and view more programs.

About the Cherokee Office of Economic Development

COED is Cherokee’s leading organization for business and film recruitment, and industry retention and expansion. For more information, visit

Cherokee Office of Economic Development Logo



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