(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first article in a four-part series reviewing a recent report completed by Daniel Myers. The title is “An Outlook on Future Entrepreneurial Growth within the State of Tennessee.” The assessment takes a look at three of the state’s entrepreneurial centers – Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Daniel Myers was a senior at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN when he decided to take an in-depth look at Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem – how it evolved in three cities, its current status, and opportunities in the future for each locale.
Those cities were Myers’ hometown of Chattanooga as well as Knoxville and Nashville. His research was completed online during his 10-day Spring Break earlier this year, and the 44-page report was issued in April.
In many respects, entrepreneurship seems an unlikely focus for a student who has since earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry with a minor in German. The seeds, however, were at least partial sown a year before when Myers participated in two special programs during the summer of 2015.
One was a month-long summer institute hosted by Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. The focus was entrepreneurship. Immediately after that program ended, Myers flew to Germany to attend the “Transatlantic Program for Young Technology Leaders led by the German-American Chamber of Commerce.” This was an eight-day opportunity focused on learning about technology, start-ups, entrepreneurship, venture capital, business, and public relations between Germany and the United States.
With that summer exposure still fresh on his mind, Myers recalls coming across a particular website during his Fall Semester that was focused on young professionals. They were being encouraged to “take your skills sets and do something.” That site was Praxis that has a website you can access here and a blog here.
“It resonated with me,” he said. “I love research, so I asked myself, ‘What are people not looking at that is really interesting’?”
His answer was a report detailing why entrepreneurship is growing and will continue to grow in the state.
“It’s an exciting time in Tennessee,” Myers told us. One key aspect is the diversity that he saw in each locale – Chattanooga and its gigabit capability, Nashville with its strong healthcare and music brands, and Knoxville that is home to Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee.
Some of the key highlights identified in the introduction to his report include these:
- Since 2012, businesses in Tennessee have secured more than $945 million in investments with $280 million received in 2015 alone.
- The state ranks at the top among states in the southeast and number two overall in the country in medical equipment exports for five consecutive years.
- In Nashville, the healthcare industry has a $40 billion impact on the economy with the music industry adding another $10 billion.
- Gigabit networking is a key asset in Chattanooga and Nashville. The former was the first city in the country to have gigabit service when EPB launched its deployment in 2010. Nashville just recently landed Google Fiber.
- Tennessee’s advanced energy sector is one of the strongest in the U.S.
The entire report is available in this PDF (daniel-myers-full-report).
NEXT: A look at Nashville through Myers’ research.