In my last column, I told you about how the editor of a leading Silicon Valley news organization has teamed up with Launch Tennessee to bring top-tier entrepreneurial thought leaders to our second annual startup conference, Southland.
Now, one of the world’s largest private equity firms is supporting Launch Tennessee’s innovative approach to running startup accelerators with a $100,000 grant — on top of $100,000 the firm awarded us last year for yet another accelerator innovation.
Although two pieces of good news in a row does not constitute a trend, I admit that I am proud of the innovation continually underway in Tennessee’s entrepreneurial community.
This entrepreneurial spirit runs throughout our state, from West Tennessee, where startup barriers are being broken with the inauguration of a new women-only accelerator in Memphis and the graduation of the first agriculture-based accelerator cohort in Martin; to Middle Tennessee, where the Nashville Entrepreneur Center is helping to found new accelerators around the world, including Dubai; to East Tennessee, where the Gigtank accelerator in Chattanooga is attracting entrepreneurs from as far away as Bulgaria; and a new female-only angelfund, the Jump Fund, has been formed. And that is just scratching the surface.
It is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in Tennessee. Hundreds, if not thousands of us, are working every day to make our state the place where talented entrepreneurs want to be — and where investors come to find the next big thing.