EPB announced Thursday that the utility will offer the world’s first 10-gig community wide fiber optic network, called NextNet. The service will be available to every home and business within a 600-square-mile area through broadband technology from Alcatel-Lucent. The 10-gig residential service is available everywhere in EPB’s service area for $299 per month. If the service is successful, that price might come down, officials said. “Five years ago, Chattanooga and Hamilton County became the first in the United States to offer up to 1-gig Internet speeds,” EPB CEO and President Harold DePriest said. “Today, we become the first community in the world capable of delivering up to 10 gigs to all 170,000 households and businesses in our service area.”
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced today the state is investing $8 million in a new Rural Economic Development Fund to build capacity for transformative economic development strategies in rural Tennessee. The Rural Economic Development Fund will provide an initial $6 million for Site Development Grants for communities to help move economic development sites to shovel-ready status as part of the state’s nationally recognized Select Tennessee Site Certification program. The new initiative will also fund $1 million in grants for the enhancement of tourism sites in rural communities as well as $600,000 for additional ThreeStar community grants including a Main Street Business Incubator program for downtown business districts. “Tennessee has embraced real change in our approach to workforce readiness with programs like the Tennessee Promise, and these new initiatives led by TNECD will help build capacity in rural areas and get them ready for investment and economic success,” Haslam said.
Nashville Business Journal
When the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce launched its WorkIT Nashville initiative nearly three years ago, the goals were twofold: provide a place for job seekers and employers to find each other, and tell the story of Nashville’s technology community. At their core, those objectives aren’t changing, but some recently announced realignments will change who does what. The slightly altered approach is reflective of the dual approaches Nashville’s business community is taking to match tech talent supply with tech demand as we try to grow the businesses that will sustain the city’s economy of the future.
High Ground News
The University of Memphis’ Crews Center for Entrepreneurship launched the Crews Center Catalyst (C3) Seed Fund over the summer. The fund incentivizes individual student and faculty entrepreneurs to form startup teams for the commercialization of ideas, devices, processes or other intellectual activities. “The UofM is committed to encouraging innovative and creative thinking,” said Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, the UofM’s Chief Innovation Officer. “And the Crews Center is the University’s hub for turning ideas into the foundation for successful startup companies.”
Memphis Business Journal
After starting out as a website where women could trade unused and unwanted beauty products, eDivv now allows its users to buy and sell their wares. Casey Casterline, the company’s CEO and co-founder, said the company has more than 200,000 products available on its site, with around 1,500 more uploaded every week. That amount of traffic and inventory led her to create the online store. The company upcharges on shipping and takes 9 percent of each sale. eDivv was a member of Start Co.’s 2014 Upstart accelerator, which focuses on female entrepreneurs. Along with creating the option to buy or sell, the company is also finalizing a partnership with a “large beauty products subscription service,” but Casterline wasn’t ready to disclose the name. “We’re starting to combine the data of their users we know come to our site, and we have access to their users,” Casterline said.
Tech Goes Home Provides Training, Computers for Low-Income Families
Chattanooga Times Free Press
For Edilzar Garcia, the American dream will be molded with a hot soldering iron. But before he fulfills his lifetime goal of becoming an arc welder, the 25-year-old Guatemala native knows he must get and learn how to use a computer. So for 15 hours, Garcia gathered with other students, parents and adults in the library of East Lake Academy this fall to learn how to navigate the Web and develop basic computer skills. For his efforts, Garcia and more than 140 other low-income Chattanoogans received computers under a unique program designed to bridge Chattanooga’s digital divide. “This is a dream come true,” Garcia said while assembling slides on a laptop computer to demonstrate his passion for welding. With the computer, Garcia hopes to eventually replace his construction job with a welding job by developing the skills and enrolling via computer in the courses necessary to improve his professional career.