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EPIcenter Memphis President and CEO Joins Inaugural Center for American Entrepreneurship Board of Directors

Nashville, Tenn., (November 6, 2017) – Leslie Lynn Smith, president and CEO of EPIcenter, has joined the Board of Directors for the Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE), a nonpartisan policy, research, and advocacy organization. CAE’s mission is to engage policymakers in Washington, and at the state and local level across the nation, regarding the critical importance of entrepreneurs and start-ups to innovation, economic growth, job creation, and expanded economic opportunity – and to pursue a comprehensive policy agenda intended to significantly enhance circumstances for new business formation, survival, and growth.

EPIcenter is the hub of the Memphis entrepreneurial movement and is one of six Launch Tennessee regional entrepreneur centers, which provide curriculum, mentorship, and other support to entrepreneurs working to launch and build their businesses.

Smith joins a Board of Directors comprised of active entrepreneurs, people who work with entrepreneurs at some of the nation’s most prominent incubators and accelerators, and noted academics who study entrepreneurship and its importance to the broader economy. The board will oversee strategic objectives, policy agenda, and tactical effectiveness of the organization and met for the first time this week in Washington, D.C.

CAE is led by founder and president John R. Dearie, former policy director and acting CEO of the Financial Services Forum and co-author of Where the Jobs Are: Entrepreneurship and the Soul of the American Economy (Wiley 2013).

“When forming our board, we were looking for a set of thought leaders who are doing innovative work across the country, supporting startups and the innovations driving our nation’s economic growth,” said Dearie. “We’re following Ms. Smith’s strategic work in Memphis, and we believe her focus on equity and inclusion in entrepreneurship is an asset on our board.”

CAE’s leadership will also be guided by a distinguished Advisory Council comprised of Brad Feld, co-founder of Boulder, Colorado-based venture capital firm Foundry Group; Norman R. Augustine, former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin; and Vivek Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering. A full list of the organization’s board of directors is available here: http://www.startupsusa.org/board-of-directors/

“I’m honored to represent the Memphis region on the CAE board and to help move policies forward that help entrepreneurs gain access to capital and other resources, grow jobs and wealth in our neighborhoods, and creatively solve our most pressing societal and business challenges,” said Smith.

For more information about the Center for American Entrepreneurship, visit www.startupsUSA.org.

About EPIcenter – EPIcenter is the hub of the Greater Memphis entrepreneurship movement. With its network of partners, EPIcenter is the enabler of unified strategies to increase support to new and existing entrepreneurs for business growth. Serving as the broader voice of the partner network and a single point of accountability, EPIcenter measures and celebrates the impact of entrepreneurial support to create a just, inclusive, and growing economy that accrues to all Memphians. More information is at epicentermemphis.org.

About Launch Tennessee – Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership that fosters entrepreneurship, with the goal of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the country. Partnering with six regional Entrepreneur Centers, Launch Tennessee provides access to technology skills development, capital formation, entrepreneurial resources and more for high-growth-potential startups. Visit LaunchTN.org to discover what makes Tennessee the best place for innovative tech companies.


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