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Launch Tennessee Applauds Support for Innovation Agenda

Tennessee General Assembly, Governor Haslam Enact Legislation Key to Advancing Entrepreneurship

Nashville, Tenn. (May 14, 2018) – Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), a public-private partnership that supports entrepreneurs from ideation to exit, thanks members of the Tennessee General Assembly and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam for their leadership on policies that support entrepreneurs in Tennessee. This legislation will help to bring new technologies to market, diversify funding and increase access for early-stage companies while creating new jobs for Tennesseans.

Through legislation and approval of components of Governor Haslam’s state budget, policymakers have reapportioned funding for the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) matching program and the RevV program, as well as expanded qualification criteria for the Angel Tax Credit and solidified LaunchTN’s statute.

“Enactment of these policies will bring us closer to achieving our goal of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation,” said Charlie Brock, CEO of LaunchTN. “As we work toward this goal, we look forward to strengthening our partnership with policymakers and advocating for policies that further remove barriers to entry for new entrepreneurs.”

Specifically, LaunchTN applauds:

  • An expansion of the Angel Tax Credit, which provides vital funding for early-stage companies based in Tennessee. The bill (HB 2217) adds a special purpose vehicle, which broadens the investment structures through which individuals can access the tax credit.
  • Continued support for the SBIR/STTR matching program as included in the Governor’s budget. SBIR/STTR plays a key role in bringing life-saving technologies to market by matching federal funding awarded to Tennessee-based companies. These companies are invested in bringing jobs and innovation to Tennessee.
  • An expansion of RevV, the state’s successful manufacturing innovation program, as included in the Governor’s budget. This expansion will allow startups, backed by LaunchTN, to access the world-class resources of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. To date, the RevV program has been utilized primarily by larger manufacturing companies.

Through concentrated initiatives focused on expanding market access, increasing early-stage capital, advancing commercialization and recruiting and retaining talent, LaunchTN has built a fertile environment for entrepreneurs to thrive. Since 2012, companies supported by LaunchTN have created more than 1,750 new jobs for Tennesseans, and early-stage capital investment increased from $251 million to $413 million (in 2016).

As part of LaunchTN’s five-year vision, the organization will also focus on policy. In January, LaunchTN was selected as one of five organizations nationwide to form the first-ever Entrepreneur’s Policy Network by the Kauffman Foundation. This grant will be used to facilitate dialogue between policymakers and entrepreneurs, as well as identify and advocate for policies that support small business growth.

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 Entrepreneur Centers in six regions, Launch Tennessee provides access to technology skills development, capital formation, entrepreneurial resources and more for high-growth startups. Visit LaunchTN.org to discover what makes Tennessee the best place for innovative tech companies.

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