Tag Archives: entrepreneurs

Southland tech conference attracts impressive speakers

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An impressive list of speakers are scheduled for Launch Tennessee’s 2014 Southland Conference, an event celebrating entrepreneurship and Southern culture.
The second annual event will be held in Nashville June 9-11.
The list includes former Vice President Al Gore; PayPal President David Marcus; Evernote CEO Phil Libin; Bonobos,Inc. CEO Andy Dunn; Coatue Management Senior Managing Director Thomas Laffont; and Tristan Walker, founder and CEO of Walker & Company Brands, Inc.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting entrepreneurship and development of high-growth companies across the state.
Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock called Southland “the perfect platform to showcase the strong tech and startup culture throughout the southeast.”
The event will offer more than a bunch of talking heads.
“Yet to be announced are the buzz-worthy musical talents lined up by the co-producers of Bonnaroo, the top 50 Southeastern startups selected to participate in the Southland Village trade show, the 10 leading startup companies from throughout the country invited to pitch to investor panels and the names of investors who will comprise these panels,” Brock wrote in a recent column.
Click here for more on Southland.
Click here for a recent News Sentinel video interview with Charlie Brock

Vendor Registry co-founder says California trip validates his startup

Guest blog by Chris Van Beke, co-founder of Vendor Registry.
Launch Tennessee’s master accelerator program, The TENN, took 10 startup companies –- including my company, Vendor Registry –- to Silicon Valley this week. We have spent the week networking with entrepreneurs, investors and media and working from some of San Francisco’s co-working spaces and accelerators.
It has been a great opportunity for me and other Vendor Registry co-founder, Brian Strong, to talk about our company to a new set of people. We’ve connected with many of the incredible startup folks in Knoxville and throughout Tennessee, but this trip has introduced us to California-based investors and entrepreneurs that we would have been hard-pressed to meet on our own.
This week’s learning events gave us the chance to see the headquarters of Google and Intuit, as well as Microsoft’s Silicon Valley office. We received valuable advice on a variety of topics, but these events also introduced us to more people than we could have ever imagined. We made great contacts through the events Launch Tennessee set up and by working on our own during our free time.
The startup culture in San Francisco is obviously different than Tennessee’s. We have had a great time experiencing the energy that can be found everywhere from co-working spaces and accelerators to coffee shops. We also learned a lot about Tennessee’s strengths in entrepreneurship. The feedback we have received this week definitely shines a light on our great state and the bright future ahead. I think we are all leaving San Francisco feeling validated by our conversations and confident that we can bring a flavor of that startup culture back to Tennessee.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth.  Brock can be reached at charlie@launchtn.org or @cebrock on Twitter.

Survey: Tennessee small business friendly

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Small business owners gave Tennessee good marks for supporting
small businesses in a new national survey.

Tennessee earned a B+ in the “Small Business Friendliness
Survey” released Tuesday by Thumbtack.com, a website that offers to connect
consumers and businesses.

“Tennessee ranked among the top states for its support of
small businesses,” Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com said in a news
release. “Our research points to the importance of clear and consistent
regulations in creating a friendly environment for entrepreneurs, and this is
exactly what Tennessee delivers.”

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Crushed glass furniture wins business plan competition

Knoxville businessman Mark Wassenaar wants to turn broken beer bottles into flooring, countertops and casual furniture.

Wassenaar’s idea may sound unusual but it won this year’s What’s the Big Idea!? Business Plan Competition sponsored by The Development Corporation of Knox County, Knoxville Chamber and Tech 2020.

“We were impressed by all the entrepreneurs who took part in this competition,” Development Corp. Executive Vice President Todd Napier said in a news release. “Virtuous Products shows an enormous amount of promise and the judges indicated they expect big things from the start-up in the years to come.”

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Lot at stake for Vol Court entrepreneurs

A $5,000 prize package is on the line Tuesday when eight teams of aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas in the final session of the spring 2012 Vol Court business plan competition.

The winner gets $1,000 cash. Second place earns $500.

Free money is good, but the Vol Court winner gets other invaluable help, including space at the University of Tennessee Research Foundation business incubator, legal services from Terry Adams Law Firm and mentoring from the College of Business Administration’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Total value of the winning prize package is pegged at $5,000. But it’s hard to put a price tag on expert mentoring. That kind of help can make or break a startup.

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Small biz lender changes name to Pathway Lending

Small business lender Southeast Community Capital Corp., which has an office in Knoxville, has changed its name to Pathway Lending.

The change comes as the Nashville-based company recently achieved $40 million in lending to businesses across Tennessee.

“”We’ve been providing entrepreneurs in the region with access to capital for over 10 years,” Clint Gwin, Pathway Lending president said in a news release. “We may have a new name, but our commitment to the community and our dedication to assisting businesses with the loan products and services they need to grow and succeed has not changed.”

Read my recent column on Pathway Lending (Southeast Community Capital) and the Tennessee Rural Opportunity fund here.

Pathway Lending’s website is here.

 

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