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June 18th, 2015

June 18th, 2015

TENNESSEE INNOVATION IN THE NEWS

CBI Reports Some Impressive Impact Numbers
Teknovation
We received an email last week from the Cumberland Business Incubator reporting some impressive numbers. Here’s what the Crossville-based organization reported: “We just filed a report with the Economic Development Administration (EDA) on the impact the Cumberland Business Incubator has had since February, 2013. Our number for Private Investment Generated came to $1,423,400! This is money that our clients have spent in their businesses on real estate, building expansion, equipment, rent and build out.”

Education Through Entrepreneurship
High Ground News
LITE challenges high school students with a new kind of problem solving. Leaving traditional teaching strategies in the classroom, the organization puts students back in the community to launch social venture ideas to improve the city—and to learn valuable skills along the way. Back in 2013, Hardy Farrow noticed his government and economics students were frustrated with creating hypothetical business models and solving made-up problems. Farrow, a Teach for America corps member at Power Center Academy in Hickory Hill, decided to make the problems real and make the solutions meaningful.

‘Jenafits’ Keeps Rustici Software on Top
The Tennessean
Rustici Software, a softwarre company that helps firms conform to e-learning standards, did not set out to make a billion dollars. Founder Mike Rustici “wanted to build a place we want to go to on Monday mornings.” When Rustici was founded in 2002, the company focused on using high-performing, happy employees to create innovative solutions. “The only asset we have as a software company is our people and their innovation,” Rustici said. “No one comes up with a good idea after sitting for 80 hours at a computer.”

Nashville Recruiter Launches Venture Fund to Invest in Its Clients
Nashville Business Journal
The Buffkin Group’s latest move is an attempt “to put our money where our mouth is,” founder and Managing Partner Craig Buffkin told me. The Nashville-based search firm has launched a new venture fund, Buffkin Ventures, to invest in companies using Buffkin Group’s services to recruit managers and executive-level talent. Buffkin Ventures is aiming to make up to five investments per year in the search firm’s target industries: health care, technology, digital marketing and digital media.

Tennessee Could Be a Major Player in $200B Advanced Energy Economy
Knoxville News Sentinel
Tennessee is poised to take a significant chunk of the nation’s $200 billion advanced energy sector according to a new report from the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council. The state’s advanced energy sector employs nearly 325,000 individuals, according to the TAEBC report, and the jobs pay well above the state average. Those employees in turn contribute more than $820 million in sales tax to state and local governments.

UT Ranks in Top 100 for Universities with U.S. Patents
Knoxville News Sentinel
The University of Tennessee is one of the top 100 universities receiving utility patents for the second year in a row, according to a new report. With 24 patents in 2014, the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association ranked the UT Research Foundation no. 91 of all universities worldwide for the number of patents received last year. The annual list relied on the foundation, which files patents for discoveries across the university’s system.

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