WESTSIDE INNOVATION LAB
The neighborhoods on the westside of Atlanta are home to some of the richest history, talent, and community collaboration in the city--in the country, if you ask us. The Center for Civic Innovation believes that the best solutions come from the residents and communities themselves. This includes a group of women who do blood pressure checks for local neighbors or a cycling program that teaches about health and wellness. These things are already happening, and there are hundreds more than can use support to get off of the ground.
With that said, the Center for Civic Innovation launched the Westside Innovation Lab, a process to identify and support community-driven and community-built ideas and interventions within neighborhoods on the westside of Atlanta.
Our goal was to find initiatives to support with business training, partnerships, mentorship, and early stage capital for pilot testing innovative ideas. Our approach was to be good listeners, and while we are not naive enough to believe that small interventions will overhaul systemic, multi-faceted challenges, we believe that we need to start by helping grassroots initiatives thrive as a demonstration of where greater efforts and investments should be focused.
The inaugural Westside Innovation Lab concluded in December 2016. Click here to read our recap of this program!
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Our Westside Innovation Lab is a program where we will select six to eight of the most innovative, promising ideas to tackle social challenges on the westside of Atlanta. Over six months, we will help take these solutions from idea to action. Each selected idea will be supported with business development trainings, mentorship, testing capital, partnerships, and more. There will also be plenty of opportunities for the local community to provide feedback.
We look for ideas that:
- Address a specific social challenge
- Have a clear product, service, or program
- Take a new, different, or innovative approach
- Are based in the westside of Atlanta (see description below)
- Directly engage community residents
- Could turn into an ongoing enterprise or business (not a one-off event)
- Have not earned more than $250,000 in annual gross revenue
- Have not been in existence for more than 3 years
Note: The Center for Civic Innovation does not discriminate based on age, color, sexuality, gender expression, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, or former incarceration status.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What do we mean by "Westside"?
This initiative will have a priority focus on neighborhoods and surrounding communities in English Avenue, Vine City, Castleberry Hill, Bankhead, Washington Park, AUC, Grove Park, Ashview, and the 30314 and 30318 zip codes.
Why are we doing this?
The Center for Civic Innovation was built by people who care deeply about community, especially in our home city of Atlanta. Headlines and sexy campaigns are easy, but authentic community engagement is what really drives opportunity. We’ve had a number of people, from 17 to 70 year olds, come through our doors and share the work that they are doing in their neighborhoods-- and many of them were on the westside. We’ve created a toolbox of resources, trainings, connections, and partnerships that we think will amplify impact in this part of town.
We are committed to making this process and program inclusive. In addition to hosting and attending a number of community events, we will also host office hours at English Avenue Yards for individuals who need help with the application or need to fill out a paper copy. We are always open to more ideas on how to engage more people, so if you have ideas, please let us know!