The Company Lab (CO.LAB), Unum and Erlanger are partnering to launch a healthcare startup accelerator beginning in the spring of 2019. The accelerator will provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to work with large-scale leaders in healthcare and the employee benefits market.

“This partnership creates a platform to accelerate growing companies in the region by providing them with insights into the markets Erlanger and Unum represent,” said Marcus Shaw, CEO of CO.LAB. “At the same time, our partners will have the opportunity to apply entrepreneurial thinking and innovative solutions to challenges in the healthcare and employee benefits industries.”

Since launching in 2010, CO.LAB has played critical role in strengthening Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial environment and cultivating economic opportunities for both nascent and established companies. In doing so, the organization leverages the area’s competitive assets such as its advanced broadband infrastructure and its strategic location to major markets like Nashville, Atlanta and Birmingham. Focusing on these strengths has continually allowed CO.LAB and its partners to stimulate entrepreneurial activity in industries in which new ventures are well-positioned to thrive.

“We are thrilled about our partnership with CO.LAB,” said Ted Reed, Vice President of Business Development for Unum. “The healthcare startup accelerator is a chance to explore the challenges our healthcare clients face and innovate our solutions to better serve them, while supporting the small, nimble companies that will drive change in the industry. The creation of new jobs and enhanced digital capabilities also opens the door to better opportunities for top talent to succeed in the Chattanooga community.”

One of the area’s largest employers, Unum is a market leader in providing insurance in the workplace. Unum recognizes that a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and job creation gives access to the best talent to grow its companies and give back to the community. Social responsibility is one of Unum’s core commitments, as well as creating a world-class workplace for its 10,000 employees.

“This collaborative healthcare accelerator initiative is a perfect fit for Erlanger,” said Matt Gibson, Erlanger Chief Strategy Officer. “It not only supports our growing emphasis on world class clinical research and innovations in medical technology, but also ties directly to Erlanger’s teaching mission. Most importantly, this collaborative effort serves as a key investment towards improving the health status of the entire region.”