Entrepreneurship can be a leading driver of economic development in Northeast Tennessee.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (June 9, 2020)

Our region has had success in developing a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem and we are positioned to grow rapidly in the coming years. An ecosystem that attracts the nation’s top talent and startups to our economy, creates good-paying jobs in emerging fields, and that gives us a chance to retain our young scholars. Each of our region’s cities has developed strong, institutional facilities and support staff/services to address the needs of small businesses, and now we have a chance to define a truly unique proposition of what we have to offer the nation’s rising entrepreneurs.

A solution is a support system where the services provided to startup companies first focuses on the success of the startup in our economy. Market engagement opportunities are defined by the ability for a startup company to gain real business development opportunities through pilot programs, research agreements, service contracts, and purchase orders. This happens when we, as business leaders, educators and elected officials, agree to give these companies a chance and use our resources and experience to help them succeed.

By facilitating these engagements, we can be attractive to companies looking to accelerate their growth or prove a product or service offering. Access also provides a strong ability for these startup companies to engage local talent through contracts and employment.
The Northeast Tennessee region benefits by providing market access to selected startups in selected areas of focus. These focus areas relate to immediate challenges of our region, specifically using innovations of entrepreneurship in solving community health concerns and creating a more resilient economy through education advancements, workforce readiness and advanced manufacturing.

The solution where the answer described above requires the participation and total support by institutional partners, including Industry partners of our focus areas, Universities/colleges, Chambers of Commerce and city/county government. Chance of success would be greatly increased when these efforts are led in part by regional leadership and successful entrepreneurs.

Within 10 years, our region should be known as The Epicenter of Rural Health Innovation.
With the key investment of time and resources, the possibility for us to become known as the region that solves rural healthcare challenges and provides the strongest ecosystem for rural entrepreneurship that face the entire nation is entirely achievable.

“We are excited to be partnering with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center for the fifth year and new partners Sync Space and Biz Foundry to help develop potential startups,” Pete Nelson, Executive Director of AgLaunch, said. “We’re hoping that this bootcamp will give participating teams the opportunity to gain the resources and support they need to be successful in the agriculture industry, particularly for our farmers in Tennessee.”

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