Where to begin…24 months ago, if someone would have asked me, “What’s going on in the entrepreneurial world of Chattanooga these days?” it would have been a fairly easy answer- “not much.” Contrast that with November 2011- I can’t even keep up with it anymore! There is some real momentum here…

Here are some highlights:

  • Launch of TheGigCity.com– This is an unbelievable step for innovators across the world to figure out “What can be possible with symmetrical gigabit fiber access?” This summer, the GigTank will make Chattanooga home to some of the world’s best and brightest students and entrepreneurs. They will all be competing for over $300,000 in cash and prizes. Our CO.STARTERS program will be leading the charge on the entrepreneurial side of the GigTank. We are honored and excited to play such a pivotal role in this program!
  • Charlie Brock joined our team this week- Of all the things Charlie could spend his time on, he’s decided that supporting the entrepreneurial community is the most important priority. We are honored to have him leading the team now, and this bodes well for aspiring startup founders. Coverage by TFP, Nooga, and Chattanoogan.
  • The Company Lab received a state grant– We’ve always known that supporting the startup community could be a viable economic development strategy. In July, we learned Governor Haslam agreed with that sentiment when he laid out his innovation and entrepreneurship strategies for the state. Included in his budget was $50M, which was to be dedicated to supporting high-growth potential entrepreneurs and startups. This new program is a perfect fit with what we were already doing. And the State of TN agreed! Last week we found out the state awarded us a $250,000 grant to expand our programs to encompass a ten county region. Check out TFP’s and Nooga’s coverage.
  • 48Hour Launch rocked Chattanooga last weekend- The event showcased over 20 teams surviving the weekend and over 300 people who came out to support these burgeoning new ventures and initiatives. We’ve been so slammed since the event that we haven’t even done a proper follow up piece yet (sorry about that!). But, again, TFP and Nooga covered it for us…not to mention gigaom!
  • Media is taking notice- As long as Chattanooga has existed, it has been a place for entrepreneurial businesses. But that doesn’t mean the mainstream media has always taken notice. But now with entrepreneurship being “in,” as well as unemployments rates at record highs, media is starting to pick up on all the great stories of innovation throughout the region. Here are a couple more examples of stories- City Scope on startups, Nooga on mobile apps, and TFP on apps.
  • Seed stage capital is getting to work with Lamppost Group, Blank Slate VenturesChattanooga Renaissance Fund and a number of individual angels.
  • And a few startups (among many others!) that are building compelling products and services: Audience Point, QuickCue, Cumberland Signal, Nopone, Mad Gravity, SociallyU, Skoodat, Southtree, ACT, Retickr, Fancy Rhino, and LifeKraze.
Where all of this is heading, no one can know for sure. I am confident that there are BIG things in store for Chattanooga. The stage is set…are you ready to perform?