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Launch Tennessee welcomes new industry Network Partners

Proof, Nashville Entrepreneur Center to offer new statewide resources 

For immediate release

Jan. 30, 2023 

Nashville, TN — Two nonprofits joined the Launch Tennessee partner network, expanding its industry reach to the worlds of financial technology and consumer packaged goods. 

“This allows us to expand the amount of resources and support for startup companies in these industries,” LaunchTN Partnerships & Development Manager Ashlin Smith said. “And we’re building on what we’ve learned from our current industry partners, so this really elevates services across Tennessee.” 

LaunchTN’s partner network already includes seven regional entrepreneur centers and five industry organizations, creating access to entrepreneurial resources across Tennessee. Together, the regional entrepreneur centers and statewide industry organizations make up LaunchTN’s Network Partners. 

In November, LaunchTN put out a request for proposals for new industry partners to serve fintech and consumer packaged goods. 

LaunchTN selected the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to fulfill the fintech bid. (NEC is already a partner as a regional entrepreneur center, but will be serving fintech startups across the state through this new capacity.) 

“NEC has strong connections, a collaborative approach and a wealth of experience needed to lead a fintech boom in Middle Tennessee and across the state,” LaunchTN CEO Lindsey Cox said. 

Fintech (financial technology) refers to using new technology to improve the delivery and use of traditional financial services. 

“We are so excited about being a LaunchTN industry Network Partner and appreciate how they recognize the opportunity that lies ahead for our state and the financial industry,” Nashville Entrepreneur Center CEO Jane Allen said. “We are grateful for the business leaders that encouraged and supported our proposal and look forward to working collaboratively to support founders who will drive transformational solutions for the financial services industry.

For consumer packaged goods, LaunchTN selected Chattanooga’s Proof. 

“The Proof team brings years of CPG experience and a deep roster of mentors and experts, who will be instrumental in supporting startups in this industry,” Cox also said. 

Consumer packaged goods are items used daily and require routine replacement, such as food, beverage, clothes, makeup and household products. 

“Tennessee has a rich history in consumer products from Jack Daniel’s to MasterCraft Boats, and our hope is to develop a robust network of mentors and big brands to support and help cultivate startups and emerging brands across the state,” Proof co-founder Mike Robinson said.

The 2022 EDA Build to Scale federal grant made this expansion into fintech and consumer packaged goods possible. 

Stay tuned for more information from NEC and Proof. 

For more information about NEC’s resources, email anthony.ragland@ec.co.

For more information about Proof’s resources, email CPG@proofincubator.com

About industry partners

Nashville Entrepreneur Center and Proof joined the industry partner network, which includes BioTN, TennSMART, AgLaunch, Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and Bunker Labs. 

Industry partners are responsible for running a mentor network program, which helps early-stage companies address potential gaps in key areas, such as marketing, financial model and projections, intellectual property and financing. 

Industry partners also use their expertise for activities that spur commercialization, including guidance on applications to get federal funding through America’s Seed Fund (also known as SBIR/STTR).

Regional entrepreneur centers 

In addition to industry Network Partners, LaunchTN has regional entrepreneur center partners. Those include:

  • Memphis’ Epicenter
  • Jackson’s theCo
  • Nashville Entrepreneur Center
  • Chattanooga’s The Company Lab
  • Knoxville Entrepreneur Center
  • Cookeville’s The Biz Foundry 
  • Kingsport’s Sync Space

About LaunchTN 

LaunchTN is a public-private partnership that supports entrepreneurship and economic development with a goal to make Tennessee the most startup friendly state. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit we are uniquely positioned to provide direct investment, while also supporting collaboration among founders, investors, researchers, the private sector, institutions, and government. We foster entrepreneurship, technology advancement and workforce development through capital access, commercialization, mentorship, marketing and partnerships. 

Media contact

Chloé Morrison


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