Nashville, Tenn., April 4, 2016 – Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) announced today the launch of the Creative Communities Initiatives in effort to encourage entrepreneurial education and activity in rural communities. This initiative comes after LaunchTN ran a pilot program in Southern Middle and Northeast Tennessee. The pilot program was a learning opportunity to help determine the best process to connect rural communities with entrepreneurial programs.
The pilot program invited organizations to apply for funding to run selected educational programs focused on youth and adult education. The selected programs are specific opportunities for communities to focus on including STEM oriented camps for youth and curriculums that help entrepreneurs to take a business idea from concept to actionable plan. Examples of these menu items are CO.STARTERS, 100 Girls of Code and Code Catalyst but applicants were invited to propose alternative programs. The major requirement was that the funding would be applied to a program with an entrepreneurial component.
LaunchTN received numerous applications for programming between January 1, 2016 and June 30,2016. The grantees selected in Northeast TN are AccelNow and Innovation Forge and will be running both CO.STARTERS programs for adults and STEM oriented camps for youth. The STEM camps focus on computer programming and additive manufacturing skill sets. The grantees in Southern Middle TN are the South Central TN Workforce Alliance/Columbia State and the Giles County Education Foundation/Gattis Leadership, who are also running STEM oriented camps including 100 Girls of Code, TN Code Academy and others focused on 3D printing and additive manufacturing.
“We are really encouraged by the interest and feedback from the pilot program and are excited to implement a statewide rollout,” said Brittany Burgess, Entrepreneurship and Outreach Manager for Launch Tennessee. The expansion of the pilot program offers flexibility for applicants to apply for funding to support entrepreneurial programing that is in demand in their community. This is a collaborative process and applicants are encouraged to work with their other community organizations to develop their application and plans.
Applicants are invited to apply for funding of up to $25,000 to be run between July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017. Applications are due May 25th, 2016. Those interested in applying can find more details and the application at http://launchtn.org/entrepreneurship/creative-communities.
There will be a second opportunity for organizations to apply for funding in November for programs beginning in January, 2017. This is meant to be a competitive application process and grantees will be selected by a review committee made up of internal LaunchTN staff, board members and external partners. Selections will be made in early summer and announced July 1, 2016. Additional details can be found on our website that we will continue to update throughout the application and review process.