Written by by Carey O’Neil, Times Free Press | Photo by Jennifer Conley, Alcatel-Lucent

Sheldon Grizzle started learning how to run a business before he reached fifth grade.

The future founder of startup accelerator Co.Lab stocked shelves at his father’s book store from age 10 until he left his Florida home for Covenant College.

“My dad’s one of the most entrepreneurial guys I know,” he said. “It’s really had a big impact on my life.”

Today, Grizzle calls himself Co.Lab’s air traffic controller, constantly directing successful Chattanooga investors and business people to the fledgling entrepreneurs who go to the Co.Lab for help.

The father of two will have a particularly large number of people to direct this summer. Eight tech-savvy startups came to Chattanooga this month to join the Gig Tank. Dozens of mentors and investors are meeting with Grizzle’s teams, helping with the summer-long initiative to spur technology development that takes advantage of the Scenic City’s unprecedented gigabit Internet speeds.

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