Executive Director

We’re looking for a highly-motivated individual with a firm grasp of the startup universe and a visionary mind to lead our organization. As Executive Director of CO.LAB, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Work at the nerve center of a thriving entrepreneurial environment widely viewed as a model for cities across the globe
  • Serve as a thought leader in national tech and entrepreneurial circles
  • Join a network of highly-motivated, creative community leaders with a track record of working together to strengthen Chattanooga’s appeal as a destination for business and innovation
  • Help reshape economic life in southeast Tennessee
  • Lead the next phase of evolution for our organization


Since launching in 2010, CO.LAB has played a leading role in establishing Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a destination for entrepreneurship and emerging technologies. Our major successes include launching the world’s first gigabit-focused startup accelerator in 2012, founding the nation’s first 3D printing accelerator in 2014, and creating a business development program in 2008 that has already spread to more than 50 locations across the globe and helped more than 3,000 entrepreneurs move their ventures forward.

Our work has been featured in The New York Times, CNBC, Fox News, Fortune, Forbes and Fast Company, and we’re only just getting started. You’ll have the opportunity to build upon our past successes while engineering new ones that advance our mission.


Among the near-term challenges CO.LAB’s new Executive Director will tackle are a need to open doorways into new sources of venture capital, to help redefine the high-growth accelerator model to accommodate shifting realities in the national startup landscape, and to provide a focused vision for leveraging Chattanooga’s competitive strengths to support early-stage companies. The new Executive Director will also be charged with leading a strategic planning process that will determine CO.LAB’s focus areas for 2018 and beyond. CO.LAB generally engages in a strategic planning process every three years.

Applicants with strong national networks, extensive business experience, inventive ideas about startup accelerators, and a firm track record of helping companies scale are encouraged to submit resumes and cover letters.


CO.LAB’s Executive Director must provide direction for the CO.LAB staff to ensure they are focused on the most important projects for advancing the organization’s mission. This individual will also be expected to maintain and build partnerships throughout Chattanooga and regionally in order to recruit a talented and diverse set of entrepreneurs.

Though CO.LAB is already a well-established operation, the new Executive Director will have freedom to evolve the organization in creative ways that promote the continuing growth of entrepreneurship in Chattanooga and southeast Tennessee.



  • Participate with the Board of Directors in developing an updated strategic plan
  • Identify, assess, and inform the Board of Directors of internal and external issues that affect the organization
  • Foster effective team work between the Board and the Executive Director and between the Executive Director and staff
  • Act as a spokesperson for the organization, along with the Board Chair and Board members
  • Represent the organization at community activities to enhance CO.LAB’s presence and influence in the community

Operational Planning and Management

  • Develop an operational plan which incorporates goals and objectives that work towards the CO.LAB’s strategic direction
  • Ensure that the operation of CO.LAB meets the expectations of its clients, Board and Funders
  • Oversee the efficient and effective day-to-day operations
  • Ensure privacy/confidentiality is maintained with regard to donors, staff and the entrepreneurs
  • Provide support to the Board by preparing meeting agenda and supporting materials

Human Resources Planning and Management

  • Determine staffing requirements for organizational management and program delivery
  • Oversee the implementation of the human resources policies, procedures and practices including the review and refinement, as necessary, of job descriptions for all staff
  • Recruit, interview and select staff that have the right technical and personal abilities to help further the organization’s mission
  • Coach and mentor staff as appropriate to improve performance

Financial Planning and Management

  • Work with staff and the Board to prepare a comprehensive budget
  • Work with the Board to secure adequate funding for CO.LAB’s operations
  • Research funding sources, oversee the development of fund raising plans and assist in the writing of funding proposals to meet budgeted goals
  • Participate in fundraising activities as appropriate
  • Approve expenditures within the authority delegated by the Board
  • Ensure that sound bookkeeping and accounting procedures are followed
  • Administer the funds of the organization according to the approved budget and monitor the monthly cash flow of the organization
  • Provide the Board with comprehensive, regular reports on CO.LAB’s revenues and expenditures
  • Ensure that CO.LAB complies with all regulatory and tax guidelines

Community Relations/Advocacy

  • Communicate with stakeholders to keep them informed of the work of the organization and to identify changes in the community served by CO.LAB
  • Establish good working relationships and collaborative arrangements with community groups, funders, politicians, and other organizations to help achieve CO.LAB’s strategic goals
  • Ensure that the CO.LAB is a resource to all members of the community interested in starting or growing a business

The application period for this position is now closed.

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