When the Tennessee Code Academy started coding camps for kids in the summer of 2013, its organizers noticed something missing: girls. Young women weren’t signing up for the weeklong code camps despite generally high enrollment. “So we sat down with the team to figure out how to get girls to sign up,” explained Sammy Lowdermilk, who is now the director of the growing spin-off project, 100 Girls of Code.
What do you do with a gigabit? At a time when the average American connects to the Internet at speeds under 15 Mbits/s, what could anyone possibly need a gigabit for? As the poster child for gigabit cities, Chattanooga is a leader in the search for killer gigabit apps. The Tennessee town has had gigabit service since 2010 when municipal-owned utility company EPB Fiber Optics switched on its fiber network for homes and businesses throughout the region. Since then, the city has worked hard to encourage startups and big institutions alike to take advantage of the broadband infrastructure to create new business opportunities and solve real-world problems.
Today, I wrote on the Nashville Post that according to a press release, Julia Polk was hired as the chief program officer at the EC. Polk will take on high-level programming, alumni relations, and mentorship for the center. Last time I reported on Polk and mentorship on the EC’s website, we talked about women in business who are involved as listed mentors on the site, and I calculated the number of women involved with the EC. Back then, out of 60 listed mentors, seven were women. I pointed out that even though there are more women taking mentorship positions than before, and that there are more women than ever involved in business specifically at the EC, the numbers were still on the low end. However, they are slowly growing.
As Google Fiber prepares to enter Nashville and other new markets, it is launching a fellowship program to help address the digital divide in those areas. Two of 16 digital inclusion fellowships will be offered in Nashville for a year, supported by Google and the Nonprofit Technology Network, a Portland, Ore.-based organization. The fellows will work with the Nashville Public Library and the Martha O’Bryan Center to build and expand digital literacy initiatives. Local efforts to address digital literacy and Internet access have been gathering momentum in recent years.
Memphis Daily News
Consumers are increasingly turning to technology and the convenience of smartphones to pay for goods and services or perform banking-related tasks. That explains everything from the launch of Apple’s new ApplePay service to the formation of Memphis startup SynapsePay, a self-described early-stage financial network that has just completed a seed funding round. Founder Sankaet Pathak, an entrepreneurship fellow at the University of Memphis Crews Center for Entrepreneurship, has secured $700,000 for SynapsePay from primarily three investors.
Knoxville News Sentinel
The Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s digital media accelerator MediaWorks is underway with 10 startups selected to participate. In its second year, the program saw double the number of applications and has four times as many mentors. Jonathan Sexton, KEC entrepreneur-in-residence, said organizers were “blown away” by the response and excited to build on the momentum of last year’s class.
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