When people think about innovation, startups and entrepreneurship, Tennessee is often overlooked. What people don’t know about Tennessee is there are 9 entrepreneurial hubs across the state, anchored by Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga. The other five areas are a little more rural, but still breed innovation. As wide as Tennessee is, with nine unique ecosystems, no one in the state is ever more than an hour and a half from an accelerator or entrepreneurial hub.
Tennessee has been an innovator for over a century. Tennessee was a major hub for cotton in the 1800s. In fact, prior to their bankruptcy in 2008, the fourth largest investment bank in the world, Lehman Brothers, had actually started out in Tennessee in the cotton exchange business.
Major corporations like FedEx, Holiday Inn, Auto Zone, Service Master, Sax Fifth Avenue, Gibson and Kirkland’s call Tennessee home. Heck the internet was born in Tennessee, just ask Al Gore.
In that spirit, Jackson Tennessee has announced the grand opening of the Entrepreneur Development Center. The Entrepreneur Development Center will help budding entrepreneurs in Jackson and the Southwest Tennessee area develop their businesses from idea generation to business launch. The EDC will pair entrepreneurs with successful business leaders who will serve as their mentors during their time in the center.
The EDC will launch Tuesday October 23rd at the Aenas Building in downton Jackson kicking off at 11:30am. Kirkland’s Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Carl Kirkland will keynote the event alongside Matt Kisber President and CEO of Silicon Ranch Corporation.
“Through entrepreneurship, I’ve lived the American Dream” Carl Kirkland told Action News 5. The beauty of this country is that you can start with little more than a dream and build a successful business that provides jobs and economic growth.”
“Our new center strives to be the “front door” for entrepreneurs in Southwest Tennessee. We will help our entrepreneurs build their businesses by connecting them to the critical resources they need to be successful. These critical resources include experienced mentors, knowledge, training, seed capital and a supportive community.” Linda Garrard, Executive Director of the EDC told Action News 5.
Marci Harris, founder of award winning startup PopVox and other entrepreneurs will also be featured during the launch event.
The EDC will open just in time for Global Entrepreneurship week from November 12th -16th. In conjunction with Launch Tennessee, all nine startup ecosystems in the state will participate by holding entrepreneurial and startup focused events all week long.
Entrepreneurial leaders across the state like Sheldon Grizzle (Chattanooga), Michael Burcham (Nashville) and Eric Matthews (Memphis) have planned out a weeks worth of talks, discussions, conferences, parties and interactive engaging events across the state for GEW.