Startup Tennessee Launches to Galvanize Statewide Support for Entrepreneurs
NASHVILLE, Tenn. June 28, 2011– A group of private and public organizations, entrepreneurs, investors and businesses gathered today at the Entrepreneur Center in Nashville to launch Startup Tennessee, Tenessee’s statewide initiative to support entrepreneurs and help startups drive job creation. Startup Tennessee is the second regional initiative working with the Startup America Partnership, the private sector program celebrating and accelerating entrepreneurs across the country.
Governor Bill Haslam joined leaders from across the state to announce the new coalition at downtown Nashville’s Entrepreneur Center. The group highlighted Tennessee’s coordinated networks, governmental support and active entrepreneurial community as key to supporting startups and driving job growth.
“As we develop our entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tennessee, Startup Tennessee will help to better coordinate statewide innovation activities, promote entrepreneurship and enhance Tennessee companies’ access to early-stage capital,” said Governor Haslam. “My priority is for Tennessee to be the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs.”
Through the new organization, Tennessee will fund business incubation and entrepreneurship accelerator programs in 9 zones throughout the state, in addition to deploying $30 Million in capital funding through the INCITE Program. These funds complement the $200 Million TNInvestco Program which has provided tax credits to a cross section of venture capital funds in Tennessee.
“Startup Tennessee will enable entrepreneurs in our state to turn their ideas into realities through access to mentors, capital and personal networks,” says Michael Burcham, President and CEO of the Entrepreneur Center. “The Tennessee ecosystem that created the Entrepreneur Center is the result of strong leadership and continuous support for innovation through both public and private partnerships across the state.”
By leveraging the Startup America Partnership’s national network, Tennessee’s entrepreneurs will gain access to business resources throughout the state and country, enabling them to grow faster, be more competitive and create more jobs.
“I’ve been incredibly impressed by the remarkable entrepreneurial leadership here in Tennessee,” said Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership. “We look forward to working with you all to take the startup ecosystem to the next level and creating the jobs of the future in Tennessee.”
Startup Tennessee has already started assembling commitments from a wide range of Tennessee-based companies and organizations to provide assistance to entrepreneurs in the following areas:
- Expertise: Connect entrepreneurs with training, mentors, advisors and accelerators
- Services: Provide entrepreneurs access to critical services at reduced costs
- Talent: Assist entrepreneurs in recruiting and training the people that can help them grow
- Customers: Help to scale startups through new and existing markets
- Capital: Highlight sources of capital available to entrepreneurs in various regions and sectors
Governor Haslam and ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty also recently unveiled the Jobs4TN Plan, which includes the establishment of incubation programs, urban-rural entrepreneurship initiatives, innovation funds to support business creation and strong pro-business policies meant to attract established businesses and foster job growth.
For more information on Startup Tennessee, please visit www.StartupTN.org.
About the Startup America Partnership
The Startup America Partnership was launchedat the White House in response to President Obama’s call to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. The Partnership is bringing together an alliance of major corporations, funders, service providers, mentors and advisors working to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of high-growth enterprises in the U.S. AOL co-founder Steve Case chairs the partnership and the Kauffman and Case Foundations are founding partners, providing initial funding and strategic guidance. For more information on the Partnership, visit www.startupamericapartnership.org and follow at www.twitter.com/startupamerica and www.facebook.com/startupamerica.
About The Entrepreneur Center
The Entrepreneur Center is the front door of Nashville for Entrepreneurs and the city’s leading accelerator program. Through its location in downtown Nashville, the Center provides Incubation Space, Information, Resources, Mentoring, and access to Personal Networks and Capital designed to help Entrepreneurs turn ideas into investable businesses.
As a 501(c)3, the Entrepreneur Center began as a vision out of the Partnership 2010 initiative of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. A partnership of local and state government support, private interests, and the Nashville business community at-large, the Center’s mission is to raise the quality of resources available to the Nashville entrepreneurial and small business communities. The center succeeds every time ideas are connected with capital, businesses are launched and jobs are created.
Jobs4TN is another component of the governor’s comprehensive jobs plan to support and encourage investment of new business and existing business in Tennessee. His jobs plan also includes education reform initiatives that focus on children in the classroom and a well-educated, quality workforce in Tennessee, which is the most important long-term strategy for successful economic development.
Another piece of the plan is ensuring a business-friendly environment in Tennessee strengthened through less cumbersome rules and regulations on business along with tort reform to curb lawsuits and provide certainty around corporate legal issues. For more information on the Jobs4TN plan and the department’s top-to-bottom review, please visit www.tn.gov/ecd.