Georgia Education Foundation

The Georgia Education Foundation (GEF) is the non-profit educational arm of the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC). Created by the GMSDC, the GEF supports one of the fundamental pillars of the GMSDC promise — to develop Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) firms and enhance their readiness to do business with corporations and government entities in Georgia. Under the leadership of its Board of Directors and Executive Director Vanessa Lane, the GEF implements training, programming and learning experiences that help MBEs build capacity, incorporate best practices, optimize infrastructure and build successful, sustainable enterprises.

The Georgia Education Foundation programming is comprised of a dynamic mix of learning opportunities for GMSDC constituents. GEF programming includes the following –

Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection

Launched in 2001 as the Governor’s Mentor Protégé Program by Governor Roy Barnes, the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection (GMPC) was the first state-sponsored mentoring program of its kind in the nation. Qualifying small businesses are matched up with a Georgia corporation in the same industry or a related field for a one-year mentoring relationship focused on building capacity, leadership development, systems infrastructure or any other developmental area of mutual interest. The curriculum begins with an assessment process to determine program goals for the pairing, and consists of group sessions, retreats, one-on-one interaction and seminar/workshop activities designed to help small business grow. Over 20 years, the GMPC has graduated some of the finest MBEs in the nation, many of whom have gone on to achieve national honors like GMSDC and NMSDC Supplier of the Year, EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Inc Magazine’s list of the fastest growing small businesses in America and countless local, state and regional awards. A number of GMPC alumni have gone on to be accepted into the exclusive NMSDC Corporate Plus program, representative of the highest level of readiness to execute national corporate contracts. Graduates are fully prepared to compete for and win major contracts, with their mentor corporation or others in the region. To learn more about GMPC or to make a donation to support an upcoming class, click here.

GMSDC Academy

The GMSDC Academy is the platform through which the Council provides training and educational opportunities to MBEs. The focus is on enhancing business acumen, personal development and professional growth, by addressing the unique training needs of diverse supplier diversity and small business owners. The GMSDC offers a full slate of training programs, events and workshops to help spur innovation, increase operational efficiency and prepare a supplier to compete successfully in global supply chains. Among the many offerings under the GMSDC Academy umbrella are an 8A transition seminar, various capacity-building workshops, the annual Financial Summit and scholarship opportunities for MBEs to attend nationally recognized minority business development training. Other offerings include:

  • Executive Breakfast Series

    The Executive Breakfast Series (EBS) was created to offer exclusive access, leadership development and informative exchange between Georgia’s Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and C-level corporate executives. Launched in 2011, the series consists of monthly sessions that are limited to senior-level officers of GMSDC-certified MBEs, in a small-group setting that facilitates information exchange and interactive dialogue over breakfast. Each session focuses on a leadership issue that is pertinent to operating, sustaining, and growing a successful small business. Corporate speakers will share valuable business insights and philosophies of leadership, typically drawn from a favorite book the executive recommends. Attendees are provided a copy of the speaker’s book of choice as a part of their attendance.

  • Lunch and Learn

    The Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC), the peer leadership council of the MBE community, hosts these lunch meetings where MBEs explore some topic of significance to their long-term success. These highly attended sessions include networking and marketing opportunities, feature presentations by respected industry leaders, and corporate presentations about opportunities and topics of interest to the supplier community.

Minority Business Internship Program

The Minority Business Internship Program (MBIP) is a partnership between the GEF and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Georgia, to provide internship opportunities to minority college students. Minority students are traditionally underrepresented in internship programs, resulting in fewer opportunities for valuable exposure and professional work experience. The MBIP framework pairs up a student with a certified MBE from the GMSDC family for an employment experience that provides much-needed income, work experience, exposure to the MBEs’ corporate clients and internship credits required by most college majors. GEF donations and corporate sponsorships allow the program to pay a very competitive wage while helping students to build networks that will serve them for a lifetime. Click here to make a donation or sponsor a student intern.

For More Information

If you are interested in learning more about the Georgia Education Foundation, please contact Vanessa Lane, Executive Director, at

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