Chattanooga Times Free Press
When Tina Harrison decided to relocate her gift and jewelry store to Frazier Avenue in 2003, there were few successful retail startups on the North Shore and even fewer that were women owned. But Blue Skies in North Chattanooga has not only survived, but the Frazier Avenue shop has thrived along with a growing number of other female-owned retailers. “I always wanted to start my own business, and after getting bored with sitting in meetings and talking about the same old things, I started Blue Skies 16 years ago,” Harrison said Monday.
A group that organizes business incubators for veterans will this spring set up a base camp at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center with the support of Comcast. Bunker Labs is partnering with the EC and Comcast to launch its sixth innovation lab for veteran-owned startups and aspiring entrepreneurs. The organization looks to give such business a platform to connect to “a powerful professional network” and quickly scale up. It also runs locations in Washington, D.C., North Carolina’s Research Triangle and Jacksonville, among other places, and is looking to open several more centers in the near future.
After almost a year of research, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation released a report that highlights the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and how it’s become successful. “Chattanooga organized and mobilized its assets to orient itself to entrepreneurial initiatives,” Yasuyuki Motoyama, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation and one of the paper’s authors, said in a prepared statement. “This demonstrates what a small-size city can do when factions from different sectors focus on a common goal and collaborate to achieve that goal. This case of Chattanooga provides lessons for other cities to leverage their own unique assets and to create equally successful ecosystems.”
Knoxville News Sentinel
Knoxville ranks 15th best on a new WalletHub.com list of 2016’s 100 Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Women-Owned Businesses. While that’s a high position on the list, the three other metropolitan areas of Tennessee ranked even higher, with Nashville topping the survey, Chattanooga coming in second, and Memphis taking the No. 4 spot. Still, among subcategories, Knoxville was named fifth for Highest Average Revenue of Women-Owned Businesses; the only other Tennessee city in the Top Five in that category was Nashville, at No. 3.
Memphis Daily News
Forbes recently penned 2016 as the year of the female entrepreneur, and the local landscape isn’t far behind for women business owners in Memphis. In her article, “Why The Force Will Be With Women Entrepreneurs in 2016,” contributor Geri Stengel outlines that the media is celebrating stories of women leaders while the sheer numbers of women-owned firms is growing. Memphis marketing group Hemline and startup accelerator Upstart are two local women-led groups in male-dominated fields.
Twenty-one students participating in the inaugural Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) organized by the Knoxville Chamber shared $7,000 in funds to advance their business ideas after pitching them to an investor panel on Tuesday night. The largest investment – $1,000 – went to Eco-Rust, a company created by Campbell County student Noah Smith. The panel of investors also selected him to represent the community at the YEA! national pitch event, known as the Saunders Scholars Competition. It will be held in May in Rochester, NY.
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