Profile Summary:

  • Entrepreneur Name: Jeffrey Martin
  • Venture Name: honorCode
  • Impact Focus Area(s): Education, Employment Generation
  • Business Stage (Ideation, Startup, Early, Later, Mature): Early
  • Year Venture Established: 2015
  • Business Type: Nonprofit Social Enterprise

The Issue

Social entrepreneurship is about solving problems. Tell us about the challenge you are focused on addressing and why it is critical that we make progress.

“The social change we are trying to impact is to make sure that all of the new businesses here in Atlanta source talent from our city instead of outsourcing it from other places. When you look at our major growing industries like film (which is $9.5B annually), fintech, IOT, and others, we have a booming technology sector.  But if you look at Georgia schools, a little less than 5% are teaching some form of computer science. 

Here in Atlanta we are focused on our most vulnerable population- black and brown students- and more specifically black students that identify as queer or gender non-conforming.  At honorCode we are working to ensure that these vulnerable populations can have a way of making a living for themselves at the end of the day.

It’s critical that we make progress on this issue because we talk about our city’s proud civil rights history, but if you look at recent trends the black folks are being pushed out of many neighborhoods they used to reside in.  We can’t keep doing this thing where we are planning for the future, when we haven’t turned to build new capacity around the things that are not working today like our models around post-secondary education attainment, workforce development, and career pipeline.  Atlanta will not ever be the city it says it is without us taking action.”       

Your Journey

Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires connections and support from a wide array of stakeholders across the ecosystem to help successfully identify, start, and grow a social enterprise.

“It’s hard for me to talk about my experience because it is a bit of unicorn journey growing up in East Lake, attending Paideia, going on to Brown and Wharton, Teach for America, and Goldman Sachs. A lot of folks won’t have the same access points because of those networks and that narrative.

Looking back, honorCode grew out of a concept paper that I wrote and sent to Carol Naughton who is the President of the Purpose Built Communities.  She knew me since I was 10 years old as I grew up in East Lake and went to Drew Charter School. Because of Carol’s feedback, which ripped my concept paper apart, honorCode changed from a model of creating and running its own school and instead became focused on providing teacher training and education to better deliver computer science across existing schools. 

Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) also played a role as I was introduced to their Fellowship program through the Penn Social Impact House Fellowship. Those networks were connected through Echoing Green which helped me to meet CCI’s founder Rohit Malhotra. So my college network has been important as well. 

I was part of CCI’s inaugural Civic Innovation Fellows class back in 2016. CCI for me was very important for relationship development as I was connected to Val Porter who connected me to leaders of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta which led to find my executive coach Kim Anderson formerly of Families First and now with Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative (AWBI). The CCI experience expedited that important relationship building.        

Additionally winning Forbes Change the World Entrepreneurship Competition catapulted us into a space where others took notice including Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator (CivicX) which we recently completed. CivicX provided a platform for us to market our work as we won an award for greatest impact.  We are hopeful that the CivicX exposure will lead to investment funding in the coming year.”


Why Georgia’s Social Impact Ecosystem Matters

Being an entrepreneur is hard and it’s even more challenging when you are a social entrepreneur as your business model and / or structure doesn’t follow the same path as traditional start-ups. 

“When we look at investment, very few of those dollars go to women and people of color. I have a very quintessential meritocracy path; however, because we are in the state of Georgia instead of California which doesn’t have as strong of an impact investing ecosystem, dollars have been slow to fund scalable ideas.

I would like to see our Investor and philanthropic community do some customer discover work as part of this ecosystem building effort.  We can benefit from taking some ideas from the design thinking space to create true alternative investment approaches that can get to civic entrepreneurs faster.  By investment, it’s not just about dollars, but connections to expertise to do various things like developing better program evaluation to prove our results and models.”

Interested in learning more about Jeffrey and honorCode, please visit:

Profile Summary:

The Issue

Social entrepreneurship is about solving problems. Tell us about the challenge you are focused on addressing and why it is critical that we make progress.

“If you drive around Macon, you can’t help but notice that there is a lot of blight.  It’s a code term for houses that are beyond repair. They will never be remodeled and revitalized.  A $9M fund has been created to tear these homes down, which has created an increase in the number of materials heading to our landfill which is already 95% filled. The biggest cost of demolition is waste removal.  Working with a sister company of ours that does demolition, Georgia Artisan partners to reclaim wood to produce home furnishings. 

The other part of our work is the employees that we have which we source from a partnership with the local technical school and workforce development authority.  Our main goal is to make money, but at the same time attack some of the social issues here in Macon.

We also work with nonprofits and local city government to create benches and signs for pop-up parks.  We contribute items that are place-makers for downtown Macon.

On days that I don’t make money, the personal and professional growth of my employees and the pride of the community we help grow are what I take home at the end of the day.”

 Your Journey

Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires connections and support from a wide array of stakeholders across the ecosystem to help successfully identify, start, and grow a social enterprise.

“It was never one thing, but I would say the most significant experience for our businesses was going through the Velocity Accelerator in Macon which was founded by J.R. McNair. J.R. was able to find a sponsorship for me and one other company to go through the Velocity program. 

When I came in to the program we were doing 1-2 orders a month.  Truly more of a hobby level.  Over the 10 week process, we changed our name to Georgia Artisan, updated our branding, pulled together a full business plan, and hired 2 full-time employees to help design and make more products. 

It took about six months for things to come together, thanks to good online reviews our sales picked up significantly and we have been growing ever since.  Velocity represented the transformational time—it allowed me to step back, put a plan in place for the business, and build a team. 

In terms of getting plugged in to the community, I was already involved in the local entrepreneurship network as a student at Mercer University. As part of the campus maker space, I entered a competition with a music venture idea and finished in fourth place, just outside of any investment funds, and was frustrated with the judges.  Six months later, I ran in to that same judge named Rob Betzel of Infinity Network Solutions and we had lunch.

That turned in to the best mentorship relationship that I have had. Through him I got connected to everyone in town.  Now I have four or five mentors including advisors in different areas like construction, building development, and sales and try to return that same support to others.”

Why Georgia’s Social Impact Ecosystem Matters

Being an entrepreneur is hard and it’s even more challenging when you are a social entrepreneur as your business model and / or structure doesn’t follow the same path as traditional start-ups. 

“Having a similar network like I have in Macon statewide where fellow Georgia entrepreneurs can link up with one another is at the top of my wish list.

Too often it feels like Columbus and Atlanta are further away than Boston.

My network within a 30 mile radius is strong.  Linking with other networks across the state would be beneficial.”

Interested in learning more about Andrew and Georgia Artisan, please visit:

ATLANTA – June 12, 2018 – After an exhaustive, year-long study on the state of impact investing in Georgia, the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative (GSIC) has issued a final report on the initial stage of a network mapping project. The report describes the findings from Phase 1 of an initiative to develop the Georgia Social Impact Map (the Map), a dynamic and sustainable resource designed to stimulate greater opportunities for investing in social good in the region.

The practice of using impact investing as a tool for scaling social solutions has exploded over the past 10 years. Defined as investing that produces both a financial as well as a social return, impact investments domestically now total over $8.7 trillion, according to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF). Yet Georgia’s participation in the impact investing market has been limited despite the availability of vast resources and investors searching for ways to tackle social issues of common concern. As a result, the founders of GSIC – community leaders engaged in philanthropy, local and global impact investing, social enterprise and professional services – launched a broad ecosystem-level effort to support greater impact investing throughout Georgia. GSIC’s first major initiative is the Map.

To complete Phase 1 of the Map, GSIC, along with Advantage Consulting and a team of interns, interviewed nearly 150 of the state’s stakeholders – social enterprises, intermediaries, philanthropic and private investors – to better understand the existing assets, gaps and interest in further leveraging impact investing for Georgia-based organizations. Findings from the interviews were conclusive and telling:

  • Nearly 80% of GA investors have either invested in a social enterprise or expressed interest in making future investment;
  • At the same time, 78% of GA’s social enterprises are seeking investment capital.

Khurram Hassan, Partner at Advantage Consulting, observed that “the data clearly showed the social impact marketplace in Atlanta and Georgia is eager for investors and enterprises to be brought together by intermediaries and an organization like GSIC. It will be interesting to see how the stakeholders take next steps in building on the existing ecosystem.”

Though there’s clear interest in socially-minded money on both ends of the spectrum, Phase 1 confirmed GSIC’s original assumptions that investors and potential investees are having difficulty connecting and closing on impact capital.

According to Sam Moss, chair of GSIC: “those of us involved in GSIC’s creation knew idiosyncratically what was going on in the market and each of us would randomly introduce investors to opportunities. But we recognized that each of us had blind spots. We thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great to study what’s going on, find out what the interconnections are, identify what the investors are interested in?’ It was really a wonderful coming together to figure out what’s actually going on here in Georgia.”

The report concludes that this project has the potential to “inspire a surge in impact investing and create a more robust pipeline of opportunities that align capital with community challenges.” And “there is a market in Georgia for a virtual platform that allows social change makers to tell their stories, inspire others, and connect to emerging social impact venture opportunities.” The full report on the social impact ecosystem is available on

Ron Alston, Senior Vice President of SunTrust Bank’s nonprofit banking group and a guest speaker at the event, stated that “My sincere hope is that [we can]…create an ecosystem that brings all constituents together to talk about how we make investments in a way that helps the entire community.”

The goal of the Map is to provide a bridge between the social enterprises that seeking capital and the investors that have mission-oriented capital. The report seemed to also confirm the expectation that investors and investees tend to align around specific issues areas, such as homelessness, housing, education or healthcare.

As GSIC’s project leader, Mark Crosswell explained that “by launching Phase 2 of the Map now, we are answering the call of the research to provide a dynamic and feature-rich resource that helps connect investors with social entrepreneurs focused on impact areas the investors care about.” Phase 2 begins immediately and should conclude with the roll out of web-based platform by this October. To include a network map, the website will also provide information on community events, intermediaries and programming that supports impact investing, as well as real-life examples and ways for stakeholders to connect. The Map will be hosted and available on in October.

About the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative
In late 2016, a group of Atlanta’s community leaders, representing a diverse range of constituencies, came together to confront a shared concern that impact investing was not developing in Georgia at the pace seen elsewhere. Working as an informal collaborative, the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative (GSIC) was formed as a collective effort to encourage impact investing across the state. The group identified several initial priorities, including the Map and other educational programming, designed to accelerate the development of Georgia’s impact investing ecosystem.

For more information: Mark Crosswell, project leader for the Map at [email protected].