ACE Staff

Grace Fricks
President and CEO
Joshua Brackett
Chief Financial Officer
Sandy Headley
Chief Lending Officer
Candace Thomas
Executive Assistant to the President

Maria Peck
Director, Women's Business Center

Soraya Torres
WBC Administrative Assistant

Mitch Belton
Commercial Loan Officer 

Vonda Echols
Small Business Loan Officer

Courtney Lynn
Small Business Underwriter


Eric Swilling
Portfolio Manager

Karen Davis
Strategic Initiatives Director

Ellen Williams
Business Advisory Counselor

Karen McLain

Guy Ramos
Client Counselor
Toni Wiley
Loan Operations Assistant
Candace McClure
Accounting Assistant

Jeff Moody
Grant Writer

Isaiah Brown
Business Development Assistant

Randal LeDet
Small Business Specialist
Andrew Thurston 
AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer

Stella Kilpatrick
AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer

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Many thanks to our partners for your ongoing support of ACE and its mission! 


The Economic 
Justice Fund 

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The Waterfall Foundation 

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ACE to host 1st Annual Harley Bike Ride to benefit WISE program


ACE is hosting its 1st Annual WISE Ride THIS SATURDAY, March 28, 2015 and we hope you will join us! All proceeds will go to support ACE's Women Investing in Successful Entrepreneurs (WISE) program- a program designed to support women entrepreneurs through access to capital and education. 


Bring your friends and family and join us for a day of fun! 

There is still room for riders and vendors! 

If you have a bike and want to ride or if you have a service or product and would like to have a booth during this event,
 please let us know! 

For more information please call 
Karen Davis at 678-916-8446 
or visit to register! 


 Calling for Applicants for the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative



Fifteen women entrepreneurs will be selected to "incubate" their business at City of Atlanta WEI, in a technologically advanced environment, designed to foster and promote interaction and engagement with their like-minded counterparts


WHAT WEI Provides


1. Use of the center's innovative workspace

2. A network of expert mentors & consultants
3. Refinement of business plans
4. Strategic marketing & branding development
5. Targeted financial education
6. Legal advice & planning assistance
7. Measurable business growth & progress metrics
8. Transition the business back into the City of 
     Atlanta at the culmination of the program

Who WEI Wants

Ideal candidates for entry into the Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative should meet the following eligibility criteria.


1. Woman-owned business, locally based, who reside in and/or are licensed to do business within the City of Atlanta

2. Business maturity of 2 years or younger and/or:

3. Total profit from business of $30,000 or less

4. One to five employees requiring physical office space

5. Ability to commit to physically spending a minimum of 20 hours per week, in the incubator space, operating the business

6. Submission of application and participation in pitch competition to advisory board


Application deadline is April 7, 2015. 





Call for Applicants for the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) InnovateHER Competition

The City of Atlanta Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) was selected to participate in the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) InnovateHER competition, a nationwide competition that is seeking entrepreneurs who are creating products or services that have a measurable impact on women and their families.


"The Women's Entrepreneurship Initiative is honored to serve as a co-host to this unique competition with the SBA, "said Theia Washington Smith, WEI's Executive Director. "As the only co-host selected in Georgia, we're committed to connecting entrepreneurs in our communities with opportunities to elevate their business goals, and showcase their innovative solutions to everyday challenges women and their families face."


The challenge will take the form of local competitions that will be run across the country during the month of March 2015 by host organizations such as universities, accelerators, clusters, scale-up communities, and SBA Resource Partners. Following the completion of the local competitions, each host organization will identify one winner that will advance to the semi-final round of the challenge. To date, the WEI has been selected as the only host organization for the competition in the state of Georgia. The competition will be held entirely online, with applicants able to submit their application and supplemental materials via the  WEI website. Entrepreneurs who are selected by local judges will move forward to the semi-final round. Ten finalists will then be chosen by an executive committee comprised of SBA officials and will compete in Washington D.C. on May 8, during SBA's National Small Business Week for cash prizes of up to $30,000. The complete competition rules are posted at




ACE is one of 24 lenders chosen nation-wide to receive intensive training and peer-learning opportunities to help small business succeed in underserved communities

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) announced that Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) was selected as one of 24 mission-driven small business lenders to participate in the Small Business Finance Collaborative. This unique and intensive technical assistance program is designed to increase small business capacity in lending in underserved communities in the U.S.  The Finance Collaborative will provide ACE with an intensive two-year program of peer learning, training, and technical assistance.


"Our nation's economic recovery has been very uneven, with minority and women-led small businesses in underserved communities experiencing barriers to the credit they need to succeed. The participants in the Collaborative are uniquely positioned to reach these communities, helping owners avoid high cost loans. They will build strategies to aid small business and encourage sustainability, growth, and job creation," said Mark Pinsky, president and CEO of OFN.


ACE is a 501 c 3 non-profit community lender and a U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) whose mission is to grow small businesses through loans paired with business advisory services for low income and under-served populations.  ACE's lending program was founded in 1999 in response to the lack of available start-up capital in the North Georgia community.  ACE now serves 68 counties including metro Atlanta and north Georgia and has made more than $28 million in loans to more than 500 businesses.  Joshua Brackett, a Habersham County resident and ACE's Chief Financial Officer was asked to participate in a highly competitive national selection process. 


"ACE has created or saved more than 4000 jobs through helping Main Street businesses thrive," says Brackett.  "As ACE's CFO, I am honored to represent Georgia in the Finance Collaborative."

ACE Welcomes Ellen Williams as 

Business Advisory Counselor




As a client of ACE, you have much more at your fingertips than the funds we loan you.  With our Business Advisory Services (BAS), ACE offers resources tailored specifically to your needs to help you build a sustainable enterprise. 


ACE recently hired Ellen Williams to lead our BAS team. Through her work with the Social Enterprise center at Emory's Goizueta Business School, we have known Ellen for several years.  With an MBA in marketing and finance, and experience in financial services marketing, Ellen is ready to assist you directly and to connect you to any additional resources you may need.


Our services are offered on an individual basis and are provided at no additional cost to you.  We can help you with several aspects of your business, including financial management, marketing, staffing and strategic planning to name just a few.  The services we deliver will be determined after consulting with you in person or by phone to assess your key needs.


We're invested in your success and everyone in the ACE family is ready to support your efforts.  If you would like to set up an appointment to take advantage of our BAS services, please contact Ellen Williams at or at 404-395-2755.

ACE Founder and CEO to receive 2015 Inspirational Leader in Community award

On April 2, the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia will be honoring three inspirational leaders at the 2nd annual Celebrating Inspirational Leaders event to be held at the Forsyth Conference Center from 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM.


During the event, our own Grace Fricks will be recognized as the 2015 Inspirational Leader in Community.


In addition, Jim Mathis, President & CEO of North Georgia Community Foundation, and Lynn Jackson, Administrator of Northside Hospital Forsyth, will be recognized for their inspirational leadership in north Georgia.  The keynote speaker for the event will be 2015 World Champion and 2-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor. She recently became the first woman to ever win a world championship for the United States in women's bobsledding.


If you would like to purchase tickets, or are interested in being a sponsor for the event, you can do so online here. 


Are you the owner or co-owner of a business that has been in operation for at least two years? Does your business have a minimum of $150,000 in revenues? Do you employ at least 4 people? Are you passionate about growth? Apply today!


With Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, you will gain practical business skills to help you take your business to the next level. In professional workshops, you will learn from some of the brightest minds in business, explore opportunities to access to financial capital, and build a powerful network of professional support. And, if accepted, program tuition will be at no cost to you!

ACT NOW - Priority Application Deadline: April 1st, 2015


Apply Now

Dalton Sirmans, Owner, Main Street Technologies,
ACE Borrower and 10KSB Scholar

"Most small business owners have a skill set that matches their particular product or service. Very few of us have the experience and education in all of the other aspects of business leadership. The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program focuses on the necessities of operating just about any business - financial management, marketing, sales, recruitment, staff development, just to name a few - in an intense, 11-week format designed specifically for the entrepreneur. It is an extraordinary program, one that is already transforming MST." 


FREE Small Business Risk Education Workshop


Thursday, March 26, 2015

2296 Henderson Mill Rd. Suite 404B

Atlanta, GA 30345

5:30 - 8:30 pm


Did you know you could be held liable for the auto accident of an employee? What would you do if your supplier couldn't deliver an item you use in your end product? Could your business stay open if  there was a natural disaster or if you had major surgery?


Learn safety and loss prevention strategies, and develop a plan to address your business risks.


Topics covered in this workshop:

  •          Driver and vehicle safety
  •          Managing business relationship risk
  •          Keeping your business up and running

Workshop also provides information on:

  •  How to apply for the Small Business Risk Education (SBRE) program, which includes, a free one-hour, one-on-one consultation on your safety risk management plan with a Travelers safety professional
  •  How to apply for an ACE microloan



It's just that simple. Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), through our Georgia Green Loans (GGL) program, makes loans every day to help Georgia's small businesses, statewide, reduce their energy costs and improve their sustainability. 

Good examples of companies seeking to improve energy efficiency through improved facilities and operations include restaurants that may have high utility bills, installers of home insulation products and lighting retrofits. The list goes on and the word is out. ACE and GGL are your partners in creating an eco-friendly environment and attracting environmentally-conscious customers. 


"Our relationship with ACE helped us pursue our goals with Solar Energy USA. Now our solar panel system is a reality." Bob Hoyer, Academic Solutions


  • 1.99% Interest Rate
  • Terms up to 5 years
  • Energy savings statements for 1 year prior and 1 year after required
  • Subject to underwriting approval
  • Non-profits are eligible
  • New construction is not eligible

For more information please contact

 Sandy Headley

(770) 402-1776 


Upcoming Workshops 



11 Ways to Audit Proof Your Small Business



WHEN: April 9th, 2015 from 6:00pm - 7:00pm

WHERE: 10 College St. NW, Norcross, GA 30071



Learn 11 Ways to Audit Proof Your Business! Join Michael Oden, founding partner and General Manager of New Horizon Financial Services, LLC to learn the best practices for filing your taxes as well as the #1 resources necessary to keep your business on track throughout the year. New Horizon Financial Services specializes in tax return preparation and payroll services for individuals and small businesses. Bring your Questions and Concerns!




Contracts: Who Reads the Fine Print? Workshop




WHEN: April 16th, 2015 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

WHERE: 10 College St NW, Norcross, GA 30071



Learn about the importance of reading every line of your contracts from the experts themselves. Sit down with a Lawyer from STU Law Firm to discuss all those questions about contracts you never thought to ask. Go over wordings, phrases, and what they actually mean. Contracts can be a horrid monster and frightening, but STU Law Firm is here to help break down the greater details that are important to protecting your business' best interest. Bring All Your Questions, No Matter How Ridiculous They May Seem!


For more information please contact the ACE Women's Business Center at 678-335-5600 ext. 118. 

ACE Loans is an equal opportunity lender, provider and employer.