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January 20, 2021

Regional Transit Authority to Support Georgia’s Leading Small Business Mentoring Program

ATLANTA - The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), Georgia’s largest regional transportation authority, announces a new partnership with the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC) to participate in the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection (GMPC). The GMPC is the state of Georgia’s top small business mentoring program, now in its 20th year of serving Georgia’s business community. 

The GMPC is a program under GMSDC’s educational arm – the Georgia Education Foundation. Small business enterprises that are accepted into the program are matched with a corporate mentor for a targeted one-year partnership that focuses on business practices, infrastructure and other areas of opportunity for the small business. MARTA will take a leadership role in the next class of the GMPC by supporting a cohort focused specifically on industries related to transportation.

MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker sees the tremendous potential in this new partnership. “The GMSDC and the Georgia Education Foundation have been doing amazing work in small business development for many years. MARTA is committed to helping small and minority businesses to thrive, and the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection is the perfect platform for us to do that. We can’t wait to get started.” 

MARTA Board Chair Rita Scott has high expectations for the partnership. “This kind of collaboration is exactly what we should be doing here at MARTA,” Scott says. “We have a sacred obligation to help small and minority businesses to thrive in our service area. This is an excellent way for MARTA to show leadership as a community partner.”

The global COVID-19 pandemic has hit communities of color the hardest, in particular the minority business sector. The GMSDC – Georgia’s premier supplier diversity and small business development organization – has been hard at work in this space for over 45 years, leading the charge in creating programming that will help sustain businesses that are now at risk. 

Stacey Key, the President and CEO of the GMSDC, sees the MARTA partnership as a game changer. “It is so vital for Georgia’s corporate community to step up in this challenging business climate, and we are thrilled to see this level of leadership from MARTA,” said Key. “MARTA knows the importance of helping to build wealth and sustainable legacies in traditionally disadvantaged communities. Their involvement will be key in expanding the knowledge base of the GMPC and helping our participants to win in the end.” 

The GMPC has a well-documented track record of success that spans two decades. Founded in 2001 as the Governor’s Mentor Protégé Program by then Georgia Governor Roy Barnes, the GMPC was the first state-sponsored mentorship program of its kind in the nation. The corporations who have served as mentors include nearly all of the global brands headquartered in Georgia as well as the many Fortune 100 entities who have a significant presence in the state. 

Alumni of the program are among the most successful small businesses anywhere, frequently garnering such prominent recognition as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Inc Magazine’s List of the fastest growing US small businesses, and national Supplier of the Year awards from numerous small business development and diversity procurement organizations. Program alumni have gone on to win huge corporate contracts, create tens of thousands of jobs and transact billions of dollars in revenues. For more information on the GMPC, please visit georgiampc.org


Established in 1971, MARTA is among the largest transit agencies in the U.S. and provides 95 percent of the public transit trips in the metro Atlanta region with 110 fixed bus routes, 38 heavy rail stations, 2.7 miles of light rail, and on-demand paratransit services. MARTA is primarily funded by a 1 percent sales tax in Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton counties and a 1 1/2 percent sales tax in the City of Atlanta. MARTA’s FY2020 operating and capital budgets of $1.1 billion resulted in a total of $2.4 billion in economic output. To find out more visit www.itsmarta.com

About The GEF
The Georgia Education Foundation (GEF) is the educational non-profit of the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. (GMSDC), a not-for-profit organization that fosters value-driven business partnerships between corporate entities, ethnic minority-owned businesses and government entities in the state of Georgia. The GEF assists small business owners and emerging entrepreneurs in their efforts to drive business growth, create jobs and strengthen communities in Georgia. The GEF offers a variety of educational program, including the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection, a one-year premier small business mentoring program. For more information, contact Vanessa Lane at 404-589-9224 or vlane@gmsdc.org.



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