• 404-267-1519
  • 404-267-1519

Project Innovate

Project Innovate increases the potential of Black queer cisgender and transgender men who strive to become small business owners to flourish economically and confront HIV stigma through training, mentorship, and micro-grants. With this dual-purpose, the multiple disparities that contribute to the ongoing HIV epidemic are also addressed. This constitutes progress toward ending the HIV epidemic on both the individual and community levels.

Project Innovate has three specific goals:

          i.      Nurture young leaders ages 18 to 29 in their response to HIV stigma, care, and prevention by providing them with mentorship toward growing their skills and confidence.

          ii.      Use youth-created and youth-focused initiatives to reduce stigma and increase access and awareness of HIV.

          iii.      Encourage youth living with HIV and those vulnerable to see themselves as part of the HIV response and the 2030 plan to get to zero new cases.

Application Links:

To become an Innovator – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1dSsM27ghCxPovWpJdchYTpgp433oB5BJtb0rFZEgRhw/edit

To become a mentor – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Nkby0rucFJrLpVaU-eSV9uuYOmf4YF3preuuH4R7uL0/edit


Program Contact Information

Ja’Mel Ware – Project Manager – [email protected] – (404) 267-1519 ext 700



Frequently Asked Questions:

    1. How old do you have to be to participate in the program?

                               18-29 years old before the program start date.

    1. What business experience do you need?

                                Idea stage or advance stage. This business foundation program has something for everyone.

    1. Do you have to be living with HIV?


    1. How long is the program?

                                7 months.

    1. When do you all meet?

                                 1-2 evenings per week. 

    1. How much is the micro-grant?

                                  $2,000 micro-grant for your project/business and a $2,000 micro-grant for living expenses.

    1. Is the program only for same-gender-loving men? 

                                    No. The program welcomes same-gender-loving cis-gender men and queer, straight, bi, or same-gender loving transgender men.

    1. How can we support this program?

                                    For donations or sponsorship opportunities reach out to the Program Manager – [email protected] or donate directly to www.THRIVESS.org with subject Project Innovate



Project Innovate Testimonials

    1. “It was an out of body experience- this is you there, doing what you were so nervous about doing- you can represent yourself, your brand, your work.” -2021 Innovator
    2. It was triumphant for me because it showed me what I’m capable of doing…the little voice that says, ‘You can do it’ gets overpowered by ‘Should you do this?’. Combining all of that and the knowledge received showed me, ‘You are a contender here. Your business can benefit and help a lot of people to show themselves in your work’. -2021 Innovator
    3. Before Innovate I felt like people in this community looked at me like ‘Who are you to try to do all that? There’s a lack of receptiveness to emotional wellness and personal development. I felt alone in my drive. -2021 Innovator
    4. “It was refreshing to be able to experience community in a different element- in Atlanta…we only experience each other sexually and in the clubs. To be able to connect with the community that way was very refreshing. It helps you appreciate your community in another way, to step out of boxes that we’re used to, more meaningfully- to have access to spaces that we don’t normally have and lean on each other.” -2020 Innovator
    5. “Seeing your own people doing positive things makes you feel more capable- it made me want to stay, when I thought about leaving because I’m so busy”. -2020 Innovator