News & Notes | Events, plans, and a new program from The Wond’ry
We spotlight two events - one tomorrow and another in late April - along with an interview with Bo Wilkes, President of Ballad Ventures, and The Wond'ry's newest initiative.
From Oak Ridge:
The University of Tennessee’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center is collaborating with the prime contractors in Oak Ridge and the East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC) to host a workshop on March 7 focused on contracting opportunities in the community. The event, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., will be held at the ETEC meeting room, 1201 Oak Ridge Turnpike. More details and a link to registration can be found here (O.R. Construction Flyer).
From Johnson City:
- Becker’s Hospital Review published a recent interview with Bo Wilkes, President of Ballad Ventures. It is the venture arm of Ballad Health, the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia hospital system. In the article, Wilkes discusses the fund’s 2023 investment strategy, its approach to investments in artificial intelligence, strategies as it navigates uncertain economic times, and how being attached to a rural health system gives it a different investment strategy.
- The Johnson City Press reports that the Johnson City, Jonesborough and Washington County Chamber of Commerce is launching a program to provide technical assistance to small businesses and to entrepreneurs who are looking to start one. Bob Cantler, the Chamber’s President and Chief Executive Officer, told members of Washington County’s Commercial, Industrial and Agricultural Committee recently that he hopes the County Commission will agree to partner with his organization in the endeavor. The Chamber is asking the county for a one-time contribution of $200,000 to help establish the financial foundation for the business development program. Partners in the effort include business members of the Chamber, East Tennessee State University’s College of Business and Technology, and the Tennessee Small Business Development Center.
Brett Smith, a Research Fellow at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, MI, will keynote the “Electric Vehicle (EV) Battery Innovations Conference” set for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT on April 27 at the PIE Innovation Center, 2215 Parker Street NE. The event will feature professionals from EV infrastructure, battery manufacturers, and original equipment manufacturers, along with transportation and energy officials, to discuss EV opportunities and how to invest in the workforce to meet the demands of the automotive sector.
The Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Innovation Center, has launched the “Climate Innovation Accelerator“ program, adding to the depth of its climate-focused programming. The accelerator is co-created and led by Jaclyn Mothupi, Director of Social Innovation at the Wond’ry.
It is a free 10-week program that engages minority-led/owned nonprofits and small businesses to identify innovative sustainability opportunities within their mission to equip entities to be more future-fit and climate-ready for those they serve. Current participants include leadership of Recycle & Reinvest, Tennessee Solar Energy Association, Tristate Minority Supplier Development Council, The Housing Fund, Urban League of Middle Tennessee, Resource Facility Solutions, SourceMark Medical, Perfectly Cordial, A&M Marketplace, F.I.N.D. Design and Emergency Response Team.
Programming includes executive education sessions on the topics of sustainability, innovation and strategy. The cohort members will develop a specific project and be paired with an interdisciplinary team of four students from Vanderbilt, Tennessee State University, and Fisk University to develop a final presentation and briefing report to serve as a springboard for implementing the project.