The goal of the Foundational Leadership and Entrepreneurship Experience, known as FLEX, is to create prosperity and revitalize rural entrepreneurial ecosystems through the education of students on the rewards, sacrifices, and processes incurred in the establishment of small businesses.

The workforce crisis continues to grow and is felt most acutely in rural areas. FLEX has proven to be the most effective tool to create the next generation of Georgia's entrepreneurs and business leaders.



Broader Impacts of FLEX


Economic Development


Local Businesses



Melissa Dark, Executive Director

Tara Smith, Project Manager

Board of


Hal Wiley

Jason Dunn

Kyle Cook

Jim Casper



One thing that differentiates FLEX from other entrepreneurship programs is our focus on community involvement. We believe that partnerships between our local economy and school systems will provide a viable pathway for workforce development in students. We know that when our community invests in our students, our students are more likely to remain local when entering the workforce. When FLEX students are ready to enter the workforce, they should already have the basic soft skills necessary to succeed, along with foundational business and leadership skills that employers find beneficial. FLEX doesn’t just benefit the students though, it also benefits the community as a whole–including local businesses and economic development.

How exactly does FLEX benefit the community, you might ask? Not only does FLEX have direct community benefits like enhancing workforce development, increased entrepreneurship and advertising opportunities–FLEX also has indirect community benefits that we feel are just as important! FLEX has proven to result in an increased optimism for the future, encourages community-wide team work, produces feel-good stories to boost morale, and increases community involvement in school systems. We believe that children really are the future, so investing in them now means we’re investing in our community in the long run.

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