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Request for Proposals: 3-month public relationships engagement to promote LaunchTN

February 21, 2022

Re: Public relations for LaunchTN and its new fund

Dear public relations agencies, 

Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) is requesting proposals to promote LaunchTN and its new fund, InvestTN, inside and outside the state of Tennessee, including in national tech and entrepreneur-related publications. 

InvestTN is a $70-million fund to be administered by LaunchTN for equity investments. 

The fund marks the first time that LaunchTN has decision-making authority about equity investments, and this positions the nonprofit as a leader in the state’s entrepreneurial space. 

It also highlights LaunchTN’s efforts to boost economic growth throughout the state, in part, by investing directly in startups and talent. LaunchTN is working to make Tennessee the most-friendly state for startups in the country, and we need to communicate how our work supports this mission, along with the things that make Tennessee a great place to live and work. 

LaunchTN is going through a growth season, including introducing InvestTN, along with celebrating a 10-year milestone with our flagship event, 3686 Entrepreneur Festival. 

With this growth, an opportunity exists to create a campaign that highlights a unique, statewide organization on the rise. 

We invite proposals through March 3. 

A description of our organization, the services needed, and other pertinent information follows:

Overview

LaunchTN is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in Tennessee. 

Our ultimate goal is to make Tennessee the No. 1 place in the country to start and grow a business. 

The Tennessee Technology Development Corporation, d/b/a LaunchTN is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charitable, tax-exempt organization pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Launch Tennessee was incorporated in 1998. 

To boost our storytelling and promotion efforts around InvestTN, we would like to engage a PR agency for three months (April, May and June). The time period could extend longer if warranted. 

Project goals

The goal is to:

  • get LaunchTN and InvestTN positive attention inside and outside of Tennessee
  • get positive stories connected to LaunchTN and InvestTN in national publications, such as Fast Company, Bloomberg or Forbes
  • help position LaunchTN as the authority on all things economic development and entrepreneurship 
  • help develop a positive, national reputation
  • connect the current LaunchTN communication team with national reporters so they can build relationships 

Timeline

  • Please respond to this request by March 3, and email questions anytime before that deadline.
  • LaunchTN will select an agency by March 10
  • Work will start no later than April 1, and could extend longer if both parties agree. 

Proposals are due by no later than 11:59 p.m., CST, March 3, 2023 via email to:

Tennessee Technology Development Corporation

d/b/a Launch Tennessee

Attn: Chloé Morrison, Communications Director

chloe@launchtn.org

Challenges

  • LaunchTN has seen several CEOs in the past five years, which has made consistent PR efforts difficult. 
  • LaunchTN’s scope of work, in general, is large and involves topics that need to be clearly explained to a general audience, while also not seeming too juvenile for an audience with a deep understanding of entrepreneurship and related complex topics. 
  • InvestTN is a new fund and is connected to other programs, including its umbrella program, Fund Tennessee, which is run by the state of Tennessee. Creating clear messaging while working with connected, moving parts may pose challenges.
  • There may be a challenge in conveying to journalists outside of Tennessee why a Tennessee nonprofit’s program matters to them, but there are a lot of opportunities to apply our programs or leadership’s lessons to a national audience. 

Requirements

  • Get InvestTN and LaunchTN-related stories in front of major national outlets
  • Elevate LaunchTN’s profile nationally
  • Help position LaunchTN as a national thought leader around entrepreneurship
  • Work with LaunchTN marketing and communications team to develop and pitch positive stories to appropriate national outlets 

Schedule of Work

All responses to the RFP should be organized in the manner and format described below:

I    Executive Summary:

Describe your understanding of the work to be performed and your firm’s ability to perform the work within the time frame provided. 

II    Professional Experience

Include an explanation of your agency’s philosophy, size, structure, and qualifications with servicing entrepreneur-focused organizations and/or not-for-profit organizations with a similar size and operations. Describe your agency’s resources devoted to entrepreneur-focused organizations and/or not-for-profit organizations. Discuss the agency’s independence with respect to LaunchTN.

III    Team Qualifications

Identify the specific partners, managers, and in-charge staff who will be assigned to this engagement if you are successful in your bid.  Provide their bios specifying relevant experience to the type of services requested.

IV    PR Approach

Please identify how you will meet the outlined requirements. 

V     Fees

Please provide a firm estimate of fees for the services to be provided. 

VI   Client References

Include a list of the relevant clients the agency has served within the past three years and furnish the names and telephone numbers of any reference whom we may contact. 

V    Payment

Invoices must be submitted no later than 30 days after completion of a given transaction and/or deliverable. Invoices must list the dates of service, scope of service, duration, and rate. Payments will be made no later than 30 calendar days after receipt of invoice(s). Management reserves the right to dispute any charges it deems questionable or excessive.

VI    Time of Performance

The services of the Agency are to commence as soon as possible after March 10, 2023. 

VII    Termination

LaunchTN reserves the right to terminate the services of the Agency by giving at least fourteen (14) days written notice of the fact and time of such termination.  In such an event, all finished or unfinished work prepared by the Agency shall become the property of LaunchTN, and the Agency shall be entitled to compensation for satisfactory work under this agreement.

Proposal Timetable:

  • Please respond to this request by March 3, and email questions anytime before that deadline. 
  • LaunchTN will select an agency by March 10.
  • Work will start no later than April 1, and could extend longer if both parties agree. 

Evaluation of Proposals:

While price is an important factor, LaunchTN will evaluate proposals on price and the following criteria:

  • Prior experience getting clients positive, national news coverage
  • Qualifications of staff members to be assigned to the engagement
  • PR agency’s understanding of needed work
  •  Alignment with LaunchTN’s vision for growing innovation and entrepreneurship in Tennessee
  • References and track record
  • Quality of the proposal

 

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