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October 2nd, 2015

October 2nd, 2015

TENNESSEE INNOVATION IN THE NEWS

Governor Haslam, Commissioner Boyd Announce Eagle Bend Manufacturing Expansion
Tennessee ECD
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced today that Eagle Bend Manufacturing will expand its current operations in Clinton. The automotive parts manufacturer will invest $54.9 million and create 127 new jobs in Anderson County. “We want to thank Eagle Bend Manufacturing for choosing to reinvest in Tennessee and creating these new jobs in Anderson County,” Haslam said. “Tennessee continues to be a global leader in automotive manufacturing, thanks in large part to the strong network of suppliers located around the state, and today’s announcement supports our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

LAUNCH & The Chattery Team Up for Life After LAUNCHing
The Chattanoogan
Local nonprofits LAUNCH and the Chattery are partnering to offer a Life After LAUNCHing series. These classes, aimed at entrepreneurs, will be a continuing education series covering a variety of business topics. With three classes scheduled before the end of the year, LAUNCH and the Chattery hope to use these classes to grow the entrepreneurial community. “Chattanooga is extremely startup friendly, and our hope is to help foster that environment by offering a comfortable place for an entrepreneur to come and receive advice or explore business topics on a more in-depth level,” said the Chattery founder Jennifer Holder.

Lyft Moves Customer Support Team to Nashville
TechCrunch
Lyft is building out its new customer service headquarters in Nashville, where overhead such as rent and salaries are cheaper. It will also help Lyft’s east coast support. The ride-sharing startup is asking customer service reps in San Francisco to work out of the capital of country music, instead. “As we continue to grow we know we need more space for the employees who support our passengers and drivers,” reads an official statement from Lyft. “We chose Nashville as the home of our newest office because it is a great city with a lower cost of living and a growing talent pool.” The move is part of a growing trend in Silicon Valley to find cheaper space and lower overhead elsewhere. Average office rent in San Francisco nearly doubled from $30 in 2013 to $70 per square foot today. Compare that to the $18-$22 average per square foot rental price in downtown Nashville.

Nashville a Top 10 City for Millennial Entrepreneurs
Fast Company
The most recent index from the Kauffman Foundation found that 24.7% of all entrepreneurs were 20 to 34 years old, and those with college degrees were starting businesses in unprecedented numbers. So where, exactly, are they starting all these businesses? Thumbtack, an online marketplace that matches service providers with consumers, recently released the results of a survey that analyzed responses from 18,000 small business owners nationwide. The respondents answered questions about the friendliness of local tax laws, licensing rules, and the regulatory environment, as well as opportunities for training and networking in their area. Thumbtack’s Small Business Friendliness Survey used their responses to rank the top cities for millennial entrepreneurs.

VandyHacks Brings in Busloads of Collegiate Hackers for a Weekend of Innovation
SouthernAlpha
Buses are headed into Nashville tonight from the campuses of Duke, Georgia Tech, Purdue, and UNC-Chapel Hill for two days of hacking, which starts with an opening ceremony at 10pm. VandyHacks will host nearly 300 young hackers from colleges near and far for a weekend of code-crafting on the campus of Vanderbilt University.  And by ‘weekend’, they really mean all hours of those several days.  There are scheduled events at 2am, as well as quiet areas where you can get some sleep in. This hackathon is actually the second VandyHacks to be held this calendar year, though this particular weekend counts toward the Fall 2015 Major League Hacking season.  MLH is an official student hacking league that provides guidance MLH-sanctioned hackathon organizations. (NYTimes published an interesting article about MLH and hackathons.) For VandyHacks, they will be providing the hardware lab.


Nooga.com
Andy Yost started selling baseball cards on eBay at age 12.By 18, he had cultivated a small business selling iPods through eBay, with the initial capital coming from his lawn mowing business he started at 10 years old. Now, at 27, he owns and operates AY Electronics, a third-party online electronics merchant on Amazon and eBay, which closed 2014 with more than $4.1 million in revenue. The company sells electronic gadgets such as cellphones and iPads online through Amazon and eBay at below-retail prices, according to its website. “The barrier to entry was almost nothing, and that’s why it’s such a cool marketplace,” Yost said. “EBay, Amazon—you can kind of just hop in there.” Inc. magazine recognized the company for its three-year growth, which topped out at 643 percent, landing AY Electronics the 703rd spot on the list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies.

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