Make a smart start.

Our talented team of experts will cover the basics of starting your business. 

Join this talented team of experts for five three-hour modules that help you understand the basics of:

  • the concepts involved with assessing a business idea,
  • marketing your product or service,
  • understanding business financials and how they work,
  • how to fund and finance your business.

Nadiya Merchant

Nadiya has dual MBA from Georgia State university (Commercial Diplomacy and Executive Business Leader) and Sorbonne Graduate Business school (Business Organization and  Management) in Paris France.  She has a Bachelors in computer science from York University, Toronto Canada.  She has worked for Cap Gemini America and IBM. Nadiya has extensive experience in data analysis/data modelling, business development, contract negotiation, client management, start-up businesses, project management, Internet marketing, E-commerce, website design & hosting and public speaking.  After 10 years with corporate, Nadiya has successfully ran two businesses. An IT consulting company and a web design firm. Nadiya has served as a Workshop Chair for SBA/SCORE Atlanta. She has volunteered for the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Hands on Atlanta and the Junior Achievement Program.
Currently Nadiya is a business consultant and an Adjunct Professor at Gwinnett Technical College (GTC).  She is also a member of the (CIS) Computer Information System Advisory board at GTC, and serves at SCORE Atlanta as a Business mentor. Nadiya operates with high standards of ethics. She is passionate about nurturing creativity through businesses. Nadiya has lived both in eastern and western societies and is culturally savvy.

Barry Coates

Barry Coates is British by birth, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from the University of London, England, a Master’s degree also in Nutrition from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and his M.B.A. with a Marketing major from the University of Manchester, England.

Barry’s career was spent working in agribusiness with companies in Canada, the U.S. and France, from 1975 until 2003. During this time, he held senior marketing and general 
management positions in both Europe and North America, and traveled widely to visit customers and sales teams around the world. Upon leaving his last employer, Barry and his wife operated their own after-school tutoring business franchise for 6 years in Suwanee, Georgia. Now retired, Barry volunteers his time with SCORE and with other non-profit organizations, including the Alzheimer’s Association.

Barry has been married for 37 years, and his wife, Angela, holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Their two children are both physicians. Barry thus has to endure being the only person in the family without the title of doctor, and is only gradually learning to accept the situation gracefully.

Priscilla Diggs-Costen

Priscilla Diggs-Costen, EA, MBA successfully owns and operates Costen Tax Group and  has experienced over 12 years of success developing and nurturing thriving tax practice.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Virginia Wesleyan College in Accounting. Priscilla is also an enrolled agent, licensed to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Currently, a SCORE volunteer, she mentors emerging and existing business owners.

Lew Kravitz

Lew Kravitz is a coach and business advisor, organizational consultant, and meeting facilitator.

He is recognized among top professionals in the areas of career counseling, communications skills, and interpersonal business relationships. Lew has been quoted in local and national media, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Money Magazine, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Journal/Constitution, and Business Atlanta; and has appeared as a guest on Atlanta area radio and television. Assists individuals to achieve positive change in their business lives. Career spans over 40 years of corporate, entrepreneurial, and consulting experience.

Verona Eaton

Verona Eaton is an accomplished marketing strategist with extensive leadership experience in Fortune 500 and Non-Profit Organizations.

For more than 25 years she has demonstrated expertise in strategic planning, marketing communications, brand/business management, program & creative development and team building, facilitation & training. Verona received a BA from Miami University (OH) and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.