Local organizations sign on as partners in entrepreneurial accelerator program

Local organizations sign on as partners in entrepreneurial accelerator program
Gov. Bill Haslam and state Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Bill Hagerty recently announced nine Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerators will be established throughout the state to help Tennessee entrepreneurs.
The accelerators will provide mentoring, education and training, strategic and technical support and assistance identifying sources of capital.
In northwest Tennessee, the accelerator will be located at the Northwest Tennessee Development District offices in Martin, located at 124 Weldon Drive. John Bucy is the director of the Martin agency.
There are 15 organizations that have signed on as partners in the accelerator program, including the Obion County Joint Economic Development Council, University of Tennessee at Martin, Dyersburg State Community College, Dyersburg-Dyer County Chamber of Commerce, Greater Humboldt Chamber of Commerce, Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, Weakley County Chamber of Commerce, Weakley County Economic Development Board, Alt Consulting, First State Bank, the Regional Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Center, Alexander, Thompson, Arnold Accounting and the Small Business Development Centers of Martin and Dyersburg, Benton, Crockett and Gibson counties.
“The Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerators will be an incredible asset throughout Tennessee to help aspiring entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses with expert mentoring and support,” Haslam said. “Startup companies have the potential to be a significant source of job creation, and we want to give local entrepreneurs their best chances for success as we work to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
“Despite the economic challenges our state and country continue to face, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Tennessee,” Hagerty said. “The Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerators will help promising entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to propel their companies along the spectrum of business growth and job creation.”
Accelerators will be located in each of the nine Jobs4TN Jobs Base Camp regions to assist area entrepreneurs as they develop business plans and launch companies that have the potential to create new jobs, according to a news release.
Each accelerator will become a foundational component of the region’s economic development strategy while creating a network of partnerships and mentors within the local business community, the statewide investor base, higher education, non-profits and government.
A $250,000 grant will be awarded to each of the nine Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerators as a result of a competitive grant application process.
Each application was judged by multiple reviewers and assigned a composite score based on how effectively it responded to the program criteria. The grant funding is a combination of state and federal dollars and contingent upon each accelerator providing at minimum an additional $250,000 in local matching support.
The Regional Entre-preneurial Accelerator Program is part of the INCITE initiative Gov. Haslam announced in May that is designed to support innovation across the state and drive growth in the creation of knowledge-based jobs. INCITE is named for its focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and Entrepreneurship.
The INCITE initiative includes two distinct entrepreneurial components: The regional accelerators and the previously announced Startup Tennessee.
The Startup Tennessee program is a statewide public-private partnership that will connect and provide consulting support to the accelerators, while leveraging best practices and the national network of the Startup America Partnership.
Officials with the state Department of Economic and Community Development will be working closely with each Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerator over the coming weeks to launch their program activities locally.
Entrepreneurs or startup businesses seeking additional information about the Regional Accelerator Program or Startup Tennessee can contact the department directly at ecd.innovation@tn.gov or visit http://www.tn.gov/ecd/Innovation.html.
Published in The Messenger 11.7.11

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