Becoming an entrepreneur can be a fulfilling experience, but it also brings a unique set of challenges that only other small business owners would understand. Networking with other entrepreneurs can create opportunities for collaboration, the establishment of a support system, or the sharing of helpful resources. When undertaking something as rewarding but intricate as starting a business, it is crucial for business owners to take advantage of opportunities that allow them to stay connected. Atlanta has quite a few of the opportunities. Below are five associations that small business owners should think about joining.

Metro Atlanta Business Association (MABA) – This group was formed in April 2017, and it seeks to serve all 20 counties in the Metro Atlanta area. A couple of the group’s founders were leaders in the Buckhead and Vinings business associations. Their purpose is to create a forum where Atlanta business owners are not only limited to local contacts but can network with others throughout the whole area. The MABA have lunch meeting events that include time for networking and a speaker session from an influencer in the Atlanta business scene. Membership ranges from Basic to Silver. Basic brings a price of $495 with higher membership types having sponsorship agreements instead of pricing.

Atlanta Business Alliance (ABA) – The ABA has been in existence for nearly two decades. It exists to provide a forum for business owners in the Atlanta area to network, build relationships, and discuss unique challenges that impact business owners. They have a variety of ways that entrepreneurs can become involved. The group meets every Tuesday morning at the Georgian Club for networking and speaker sessions. They also have social events that include golf outings, a summer picnic, and volunteer events with the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Each member is listed in their directory by the industry their business addresses. Interested business owners can fill out a “request a visit” form to start the process to join.

Atlanta Business Association

U.S. Small Business Administration, Georgia District Office – The United States Small Business Administration has a Georgia chapter, and primarily serves as a resource center for entrepreneurs. It delivers SBA programming and services throughout the state. They handle everything from free counseling to financial assistance in the form of business loans. The chapter also hosts various events that address topics such as business start-up, creating a business plan, the impact of personal finance on obtaining business funding.

Atlanta Business League – The ABL seeks to help spur business development and economic empowerment in minority communities. The organization was established in 1933 as a local affiliate of the National Business League started by Dr. Booker T. Washington. The group offers events where members can gain tips from a seasoned business professional, opportunities for workshops and training, a listing in the ABL Directory, and opportunities to refer products or services to potential consumers. Membership tiers range from a student type at $20.00 to corporate at a price of $1,375. Small business owners who have an annual amount of $1 million in revenue or less have yearly dues of $275.

National Association of Women Business Owners, Atlanta Chapter – The NAWBO seeks to support and empower women entrepreneurs. The group was started in 1975, and along with educating and providing services to women in regard to business ownership, NAWBO participates in advocacy on issues that impact women in the business sphere. The organization has a virtual institute that members can log onto to receive training in operations, financial management, leadership, marketing, and long-term business planning. The Atlanta chapter holds local events for members to attend for educational enrichment and networking. Upcoming topics include monthly business forum lunches for members to share ideas and offer peer-to-peer support. There are supporting, introductory, and premier membership depending on the level of involvement members would like to have. There is a $100 initiation fee, but the highest number of dues per month are $29.95.

Staying connected and making networking a priority is crucial to business success. In addition to the above associations, Atlanta has many local business associations in Midtown, Buckhead, Old Fourth Ward, South Atlanta, and a number of other locations. Joining an association is also a great way to gain further knowledge about a business scene that is unique to Atlanta.

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