Tennessee wants to be a go-to place for entrepreneurs. With zero personal income tax, established and growing industries, and a real push to educate the workforce, the state’s ambitions aren’t a pipe dream. Launch Tennessee aims to make the state “the No. 1 place in the Southeast to start and grow a business.” As Tennessee’s main public-private entrepreneurship initiative, the program has nine regional business accelerators, mentorship programs and connects aspiring business owners with investors.
Knoxville News Sentinel
The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will open its doors July 14-15 for its “Explore ORNL” conference designed to introduce the region’s business community to the lab’s world-class R&D facilities and expertise. “Explore ORNL is an outreach event that provides companies both large and small with a unique opportunity to learn about collaboration possibilities,” said Tom Rogers, ORNL’s director of Industrial Partnerships and Economic Development.
Nashville Business Journal
Nashville is taking part in a new White House program to get entrepreneurs up and running with their next – or first – venture in 24 hours. Mayor Karl Dean has joined with mayors in 10 other cities to develop a website or app that lets entrepreneurs complete all of their licensing and permit applications in a single day. As part of the program, the Small Business Administration is launching a $1.5 million competitive grant program. By the end of the summer, it will award $50,000 in grants to 25 communities to develop Web-based application platforms.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
A top official at the ride-sharing service Lyft and Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, say Tennessee’s new law that allows the car-booking company, as well as other firms like Uber, to operate statewide can serve as a model to other states. “We think this bill actually represents the model legislation for state legislatures regarding the ride-sharing or transportation networks across the nation,” said Joseph Okpaku, director of public policy for Lyft. The bill, which Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law on May 20, incorporated a compromise that the majority of the insurance industry and the ride-sharing industry were able to strike back in March, Okpaku said.
Nashville Business Journal
Heather McBee has been promoted to program director for Project Music effective today, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center announced. In addition, Project Music will expand from 14-week accelerator into a 12-month program at the center. Previously, McBee was the industry lead for Project Music, the Entrepreneur Center’s first organized push into music tech. The program launched in January and graduated its first class of eight startups in April.
Jewel Burks, CEO and Cofounder of Partpic, won Blackstone’s $36,000 grand prize at LaunchTN’s flagship conference, 36|86. The conference boasted over 900 attendees, 86 investment firms and over 120 investors. Burks, a Nashville native, represented her company as one of LaunchTN’s Southern Series winners from Atlanta, where Partpic is currently located. Because of the team’s win, they were automatically guaranteed a spot in Village 36, a group that represented startup finalists at the conference.
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