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LaunchTN Introduces Agricultural and Automotive Mentor Networks

Tennessee-based agriculture and automotive companies will receive expertise from mentors and partners on a wide range of business topics

NASHVILLE – August 24, 2020 –  Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN), a public-private partnership guided by a vision of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation, today announced agricultural and automotive mentorship opportunities for Tennessee businesses. These new sectors join the life science and advanced energy industries in the LaunchTN Mentor Networks program, a free statewide mentoring program for early-stage companies.

The objective of the Mentor Networks program is for entrepreneurs to develop a compelling commercialization strategy and prepare for funding and growth. The agricultural and automotive categories were added due to their roles as key industries for Tennessee with respect to employment, supply chain capabilities, corporate investment and institutional research assets.

Both sectors have massive presence statewide. The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture has a physical presence in every county, and Tennessee’s automotive manufacturing cluster includes operations in 88 of 95 counties.

“Agriculture and automotive companies are essential to the Tennessee landscape, but they are facing unique challenges,” said Van Tucker, interim CEO, LaunchTN. “The Tennessee agriculture sector is a tight knit community made up of individuals who often run lean operations with little time to dedicate to seeking and vetting cutting edge solutions. Meanwhile, auto companies face a large and complex industry with multiple layers of the supply chain and regulations. By connecting these early-stage businesses with Tennessee’s greatest minds, we hope to build stronger businesses in the state.”

Partners for these mentorships were announced during LaunchTN’s 36|86 Festival on Aug. 24.

  • Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC), in partnership with AgLaunch, joins LaunchTN as a partner for agricultural mentees. KEC will utilize its expansive entrepreneurial network, location and other resources to leverage AgLaunch’s existing mentor network and create more opportunities for agricultural startups and founders across Tennessee.
  • Meanwhile, TennSMART has joined the automotive track. TennSMART’s membership and broader network will bring seasoned automotive industry experts in areas ranging from manufacturing and supply chains to fleet management and autonomy to the state’s most promising automotive entrepreneurs. TennSMART’s varied membership will enable them to match startups to all types of companies, which will ensure they are getting access that will help them scale.

Details of the submission process for prospective agriculture and automotive mentees are forthcoming. Visit the LaunchTN site here for more information on the LaunchTN Mentor Networks.

About LaunchTN
LaunchTN is a public-private partnership with a vision to make Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation. Our mission is to empower a high-functioning network of resources focused on core priorities that support Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through our network of Entrepreneur Centers and partner organizations across the state, LaunchTN fosters collaboration among entrepreneurs, the private sector, capital sources, institutions, and government to offer entrepreneurs what they need to succeed and stay in Tennessee to build companies and create jobs.

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