It’s exciting to be in Knoxville these days. There’s so much tangible energy, excitement, and activity around that it feels like a renaissance, especially downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s inspiring to be here. I’m also excited about what’s happening with our Big Ears Festival – which returns on Thursday, March 31 through Saturday, April 2…with a little surprise planned for early on Sunday, April 3. The national and international profile of Big Ears – and the number of visitors coming to our city – continues to grow at an extraordinary pace.
Chattanooga, once known as one of America’s dirtiest cities has built a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is the first city in the western hemisphere to have gigabit-speed internet service and has re-branded itself as the “Gig City”. Based on an April, 2015 ranking by WalletHub, a personal-finance social network, the “Gig City” ranks number 4 in the country as a top city for startups. The city was rated number 2 for access to resources. For further information see “The Best and Worst Cities to Launch a Business” in Entrepreneur Magazine.
High Ground News
Launched by Eric Friedl in 1993, Goner Records has played a major role in the modern Memphis music scene. Motivated to release records that no other label would, Friedl ran Goner Records out of his house for a decade. In 2003, Zac Ives joined Friedl and the two opened Goner Record’s retail store in Cooper-Young. “We thought that between the record store and the label, we might have a halfway sustainable business,” said Ives. Named one of the Top 10 Record Shops in the Nation by Rolling Stone, the Goner Records shop is stomping grounds for locals and tourists alike.
The Commercial Appeal
The EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator is taking applications through March 18 for its 2016 program. The 15-week program, sponsored by FedEx, has room for up to six innovative startup companies developing solutions to transportation and logistics issues. Each company will receive $50,000 in seed capital provided by EPIcenter and Innova, a Memphis-based venture capital firm that invests in early-stage companies. The scheduled start date is May 2. Information is available at epimemphis.com.
A Tennessee startup is using the power of social networks to try to address what has long eluded insurers, health care providers and employers — how to encourage healthier lifestyles. Spire, based in Nashville and Chattanooga, offers an app that capitalizes on the peer pressure and accountability fostered by social networks and creates a forum for individuals to share their health-related victories as they cheer on others in their communities.
Memphis Business Journal
A graduate of the ZeroTo510 accelerator is close to submitting its product to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with hopes it will be approved in early 2017. In the meantime, LineGard Medical is poised to close on $800,000 in funding to continue development of its SafeBreak IV device. LineGard Medical founder and CEO Spencer Jones, a registered nurse, developed SafeBreak as a way to keep distressed patients from pulling out IV lines when they’re in the hospital, not only risking injury to themselves, but costing hospitals money and time.
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