Here is a quick recap of CO.LAB’s recent changes for those who don’t want to read thirty pages of blog posts!
In November CO.LAB was named the Southeast Tennessee Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerator as part of the state’s JOBS4TN program that aims to make Tennessee the leader in providing high quality jobs in the Southeast. This award brought a $250,000 grant, as well as new responsibilities. Two weeks later, Charlie Brock of Four Bridges Capital was brought in to help steer CO.LAB through the process of lending its services to the community from Hamilton county to the rest of southeast TN, and a new board was established. Sheldon Grizzle, who started what would become CO.LAB two years ago, describes the whirlwind of the past three months as an evolution from the vision casting phase to a dynamic operation that requires effective execution.
Beginning January 1, we moved into CreateHere’s former location on 55 Main St. and are now able to provide space for our accelerator teams from Nudge, Job Ninja, and Euclid. The new space was on display for CO.LAB staples such as CXP and Will This Float? recently, and we are still remodeling. Watch for our new sign soon! We decided that part of being a “front door” for entrepreneurs is to have a nice, you know, actual front door.
In mid-January we held a summit with forty leaders from city and county governments in our region to publicize our mission and identify investors, mentors, and entrepreneurs in the counties for whom we are now responsible. Since one of our goals is to expand our Springboard program to all ten counties in the region, we need to recruit and train the trainers. Chris Daly of the Enterprise Center leads our regional outreach and we have upcoming speaking engagements planned at Civitan and Rotary clubs throughout the area. With the help of local leaders we will meet the task of providing assistance to more entrepreneurs than ever.
Right now we are busy gearing up for the next several months. Chattanooga Visitors Bureau will be assisting us with the next 48 Hour Launch, which will focus on ideas that will enhance a visitor’s experience in Chattanooga. We will continue to work closely with the start-ups in the CO.LAB space, and we will keep you posted on their progress. This summer’s GigTank program promises to be a groundbreaking event, with bigger ideas and bigger cash prizes than ever before. See www.thegigcity.com/gigtank for more. In addition, we are looking for one hundred investors who will invest ten thousand dollars per year in start-up businesses in the area. Stay tuned, it’s going to be an exciting year!