Knoxville News Sentinel
The city will be recognizing female and minority small business owners Wednesday at the 2016 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Awards Ceremony. The ceremony will is planned to begin at 8 a.m.inside the small assembly room of the City County Building. The businesses that will be honored were chosen because they advance core goals of the city, according to a news release.
Innov865 Week is a week-long series of events, taking place September 19-23, 2016, to celebrate and showcase Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses. We have partnered with the Innov865 Alliance to bring you stories of innovation born in East Tennessee. Today, we’re taking a look at two giants in East Tennessee research—the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee Research Foundation—and what role they’re playing in supporting entrepreneurship in the region.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
A new venture capital fund created to accelerate the growth of trucking and logistic company startups successfully raised $18 million in investments — 50 percent more than its original target and one of the biggest capital raises ever for a VC fund in Chattanooga. The “Dynamo” fund was formed this year by the principals in the former Access America trucking company to help support other growing logistics businesses, including the 10 startups going through the Dynamo accelerator this summer. The new funds will be one the richest endowed funds ever in Chattanooga and will make investments in early-stage startup businesses looking to bring new technologies to freight movements and storage.
Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) announced today the application period for their fourth annual TENN program is open. The TENN is a one-of-a-kind program designed to propel some of the most promising startup companies in Tennessee to the next level through highly-focused mentorship, access to functional expertise, and investor introductions across the state, region and country. In the program’s three years, there have been 24 total graduates, with 25% of those companies being female founded. Collectively, those 24 companies have raised a total of $14.8 million in capital.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, and statistics support this truth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, after three years of operation, more than 30 percent of new businesses fail. By the five-year mark, that figure is more than half. And after 10 years, only about a third of businesses are left standing. Those are daunting odds, to be sure. But surprisingly (or perhaps not, if you consider success stories like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Sara Blakely, founder of the Spanx line of women’s intimate apparel), millions of Americans still make the decision to start their own businesses each year. In fact, the 2016 Kaufman Index of Startup Activity reports released by the Kaufman Foundation in August reveal that more than 550,000 Americans launched new businesses each month during 2015. On a local level, the startup spirit is just as strong: Tennessee comes in 20th in a state-by-state ranking of startup activity, while the Metro Nashville area jumped from 23rd to 16th in a ranking of the most entrepreneurially active cities over the last year.
Matching contributions by public and private partners bring total investment to $59 million for 45 projects to address water quality and other conservation concerns. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the investment of $26.6 million by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) into 45 projects that will spur innovative conservation initiatives on both rural and urban farms across the country. Public and private grantees will provide matching investments, bringing the total value of support to $59 million. The investment is made through USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which fosters innovation in conservation tools and strategies to improve things like on-farm energy and fertilizer use as well as market-based strategies to improve water quality or mitigate climate change.
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