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February 8th, 2016

February 8th, 2016


A Real-Life Entrepreneur’s Guide to Getting Customers Part 1: Direct Sales (How it Really Happens”
My name is Jonathan Sexton and I have a really cool job. I am the Entrepreneur-In-Residence at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, in Knoxville,Tennessee; a small, but very creative and kick-ass city. My job description is simple: create and grow a business, while helping other entrepreneurs create and grow theirs. But the job itself is far more complex.Sometimes I wonder why anyone would pay me to do this. Build my own exit? But there is actually tons of value to the people that I serve in being “in the trenches” growing a business.

Blackstone Charitable Foundation Announces 2016 Innovation Grant Recipients
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation today announced that it has awarded grants totaling $2 million to non-profit organizations that strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems and support promising entrepreneurs. Now in its fourth year, the Blackstone Innovation Grants program supports innovative regional initiatives and events that foster entrepreneurship. Our grant will fund Launch Tennessee’s 36 | 86 conference in June 2016, which brings together top talent from across the south to further the conversation about entrepreneurship, investment and culture, and to identify and highlight some of the top early stage companies throughout a 12 state SE region.

Entrepreneur Center Creates Health Care Accelerator
The Tennessean
The Entrepreneur Center is launching a new accelerator, Project Healthcare, to stoke the growth of startups in Nashville. The accelerator is the third aimed at local Nashville industries and follows Project Music and 1440 Publishing Innovations. Michael Burcham, a health care heavyweight who recently started Narus Health, will join as chairman of Project Healthcare’s advisory board. “I’m excited to be back working with the Entrepreneur Center as it enters this next phase of support for innovation in health care,” Burcham said in a prepared statement. “It’s time to provide year-round support for health care startups.”

Memphis Biotech Co. Preps Clinical Trial for Knee Implant
Memphis Business Journal
Memphis-based Active Implants has initiated its second clinical trial evaluating the investigational NUsurface meniscus implant. Active Implants will enroll approximately 120 patients with persistent knee pain caused by injured or deteriorating meniscus cartilage at up to 20 sites nationwide. NUsurface will be evaluated as a treatment option to help patients delay or avoid total knee replacement.

Pro2Serve, Covenant Partnership will Use ORNL Technology to Solve Healthcare’s Information Overload
Knoxville News Sentinel
Professional Project Services of Oak Ridge and Knoxville healthcare system Covenant Health have launched a joint venture, VortexT Analytics, using technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the national security industry to securely compile and analyze an ever-growing volume of patient data in the healthcare field. The VortexT platform, based on algorithms developed at ORNL and combined with additional patented technology from Pro2Serve, uses big data analysis to find targeted information in text form, such as patient files.

Water-Conscious Tech Startup Launches Kickstarter to Help Scale Business
The Ark Labs, which is a water-conscious tech startup, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help scale their business, and although it might sound “goofy,” the company’s founder said the fundraiser isn’t only about money. “[I mean this] from deep down inside—our goal is not financial,” CEO and founder Robbie Hillis said. “It would be deemed a success in my mind if we gained x number of community members.” Hillis also participated in The Company Lab’s 2015 Gig Tank and will soon be working with Vision Hospitality Group to beta test his product.

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