Cherokee Office of Economic Development · Cherokee by Choice.

Learn more about HatchBridge and the Cherokee Office of Economic Development’s Fresh Start Cherokee entrepreneurship initiative.

Are you ready to turn your business idea into reality?

Join us on this exciting venture here in Cherokee County – the 192-year-old Startup Community! Secure your spot in the future of entrepreneurship in the FREE 4-week LaunchPad Bootcamp series for Cherokee County Emerging Entrepreneurs and have the chance to earn up to $5,000 to advance your business idea or launch your new product. Only 15 slots available! Learn more about funding eligibility below.

Are you a fit for launchpad?

  • Are you a Cherokee County emerging entrepreneur with a business idea/concept OR are you gearing up to launch a new product?
  • Do you want to transform your innovative idea into a business?
  • Are you interested in developing your business model?
  • Are you looking for a go-to market strategy for a new product?
  • Do you have a side gig that you want to turn into a business?

Whether you just have an idea or concept, or you want to launch a new product, this 4-week bootcamp series is designed for you.


Check back for new dates!

For more information, contact Lee Smith, Program Manager at or 770.345.0600.

Submission of the application does not guarantee participation in the bootcamp series. Check back for application deadline.

Where will you go with launchpad?

Join our exciting LaunchPad Bootcamp series! We’ll help you turn your innovative ideas into a solid plan ready to take off over the course of 4-weeks.

section 1: ideate

Exploring any new opportunities requires a deep understanding of the problem statement and the needs of those customers who are willing to pay for a satisfactory solution. In week one you will:

  • Discover the customer journey and research market size
  • Define the problem concisely
  • Ideate personal goals for the business

Section 2: Investigate

Investigating authentic opportunities can be an energizing process. It’s critical to collect lots of data from a neutral point of view to optimize your initial solution design. In week two you will:

  • Challenge assumptions with customer data
  • Solidify the problem statement after customer interviews
  • Investigate existing solutions

section 3: refine

Refining your understanding of the market and potential solutions will help you work more efficiently while being under-resourced. Validated customer knowledge is power! In week three you will:

  • Map the customer buyer journey
  • Define the minimum SELLABLE product
  • Refine your idea deck

section 4: Launch

How are you supposed to know what you don’t know? Here – we’ll put you through the framework to help prioritize action items, so you can make your first launch. In week four you will:

  • Incorporate without going broke
  • Define north star metrics and framework for future accountability
  • Create a launch checklist

walk away with:

Idea Deck

Founder Checklist

Go-To Market

funding eligibility

  1. Complete 4-week LaunchPad Bootcamp and all assignments.
  2. Receive and complete mini-grant application (below) by March 1.
  3. Gain application approval.
  4. Get paid!

Mini Grant Applications will be given at the conclusion of the bootcamp series to eligible participants.

Note: Funding is not guaranteed.

The LaunchPad program is designed to support Cherokee County emerging entrepreneurs and innovators by providing funding of up to $5,000 to advance business ideas or launch a new product. The Cherokee Office of Economic Development believes in fostering creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and we are excited to hear about your unique business proposal.

To be eligible for the funding, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicant must complete the full 4-week bootcamp series and all assignments
  • Applicant must be a resident or business located in Cherokee County
  • Applicant must submit a completed mini grant application to be approved
  • Applicant must be committed to pursuing this business for at least 12 months
  • The proposed business idea or product must be at the concept or early development stage
  • The business idea or product must be legal, and all information submitted must be accurate

NOTE: Ineligible businesses include gambling institutions, multi-level marketing organizations, real estate investment trusts and adult entertainment

Mini Grant Applications will be given at the conclusion of the bootcamp series to eligible participants.

Note: Funding is not guaranteed.

Mini Grant Applications will be given at the conclusion of the bootcamp series to eligible participants.

Note: Funding is not guaranteed.

Contact Information:

  • Full Name:
  • Email Address:
  • Phone Number:

Business Idea/Product Overview

  • Briefly describe your business idea or product. What inspired you to pursue this concept, and what problem or need does it address?

Utilization of Grant Funds

  • Provide a detailed breakdown of how you plan to use the grant funds. What specific expenses will the funds cover, and how will this allocation contribute to the development or launch of your idea/product?

Market Visibility

  • Share key findings from your market research. What evidence supports the viability of your business idea or product? How does your idea/product stand out in the market, and who is your target audience?

Challenges and Mitigation

  • Anticipate potential challenges in implementing your idea/product. What strategies do you have in place to mitigate these challenges, and how do you plan to adapt if unexpected obstacles arise?

Impact and Sustainability

  • Describe the potential impact of your business idea/product on the target market. How does it contribute to innovation or address a specific need? Additionally, outline your vision for the sustainability of your business beyond the initial launch phase.

Submission Instructions: Please submit your completed application by March 1, 2024. Late submissions will not be considered.

Selection Process: Each application will be reviewed and evaluated on feasibility, potential impact and adherence to the criteria. Expect grant application process to conclude by the end of March. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

Grant Disbursement: Applicants will be notified of grant award status via email by end of March. Application review will begin once the grant closes on March 1, 2024. COED intends to have a “check” presentation for applicants.

Note: Funding is not guaranteed. Business must be independently owned and operated. Business must not be dominant in its field.

meet the facilitators

colin ake

Director of Incubation & Commercialization, KSU

I deeply enjoy innovation and iteration, tackling challenging problems, building and leading teams, and taking on roles that impact the world around us. I have experience in building and leading teams, business model development for deep technology startups, designing and running entrepreneurship programs, building coalitions, and managing programs. Building new programs that serve communities of people is an extremely rewarding process that I am fortunate to get to spend time doing in multiple areas of life.

I  have a passion for building business models that will enable the sustainable and commercial exploration of space. There’s a lot of work to do to build more companies that sustain themselves on commercial revenue outside of LEO. Let’s get to it.

graham gintz

Program Manager, HatchBridge

I am passionate about novel applications of technology and the quest to build companies from the ground up. A lifelong learner and practiced entrepreneur, I am energized by relationships with technologists challenging the status quo.

I am grateful to have a breadth of international experience as a strategy consultant and am always happy to speak with new founders about strategy, business development, and industry trends. Hoping to dabble into angel investing in the near future.

Translate »