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Teknovation News and Notes
October 15, 2023 | Tom Ballard

News & Notes | New ORNL Director assumes role this week

Launch Tennessee adds an eight entrepreneur center to its network, while a new organization named the Greater Nashville Venture Capital Association emerges.

From Oak Ridge:

  • The new Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory is scheduled to begin his duties this week. Stephen K. Streiffer was named to the position in late July, coming after his most recent role as Interim Director at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and, before that, a longtime association in research and leadership positions at Argonne National Laboratory, concluding his tenure as the lab’s Deputy Director for Science and Technology.
  • EarthEn, a member of Cohort 7 of the “Innovation Crossroads” program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been selected to participate in the Future Energy Storage Studio, a program that will engage start-ups, industry leaders, and other innovation partners to advance early stage energy storage technologies. We recently cast the spotlight on the company in this article.

From Chattanooga:

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) is planning to expand its smart corridor along M.L. King Boulevard to all of the city’s downtown area in the coming years.

The smart corridor is a group of sensors tracking traffic and air quality at 13 intersections across a 1.2-mile stretch of M.L. King Boulevard from Highway 27 to Central Avenue. When the expansion is completed, the sensors will be at more than 100 signalized intersections covering all of downtown.

The article quoted Mina Sartipi, Founding Director of UTC’s Center for Urban Informatics and Progress, as saying that “the original goal, defined by the city, was to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety. Where are the areas that the vehicles are getting too close to pedestrians or cyclists, like the left turns or right turns, or any of those, that would potentially put a person, which we call vulnerable road users, in danger?”

Chattanooga and UTC have received federal grants and drawn international recognition, as well as awards, for the work.

From Nashville and Dyersburg:

The Mill Workspace in Dyersburg has become the eighth member of Launch Tennessee‘s (LaunchTN) entrepreneur center network.

In a news release issued last week, the statewide organization announced that the up-to-now co-working facility, which opened in May 2018, will expand its offerings to fill a longtime void for nine counties in Northwest Tennessee. In order to use the track record that The Mill has established since then as a foundation for expanded programming, Founder Chris Donaldson formed Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneurship Inc. and filed for 501(c)(3) status on September 19. Moving forward, “The Mill” will be the DBA (doing business as) name for the entrepreneur center.

“Chris Donaldson’s application demonstrated an existing level of commitment plus a willingness to expand and grow in serving entrepreneurs through capital access, programming and events for business support and growth. The establishment of ‘The Mill’ as a LaunchTN regional entrepreneur center partner will increase connections and access to mentorship for entrepreneurs throughout the Northwest region,” said Ashlin Smith, LaunchTN Partnerships and Development Manager.

From Nashville:

Milt Capps at Venture Nashville reports that a new organization named the Greater Nashville Venture Capital Association will hold its kickoff November 13. According to the group’s temporary website, its goals are:

  • Aiding in the recruitment of venture capital to the region;
  • Organizing the local investment and entrepreneurial community through networking events, newsletters and other communications;
  • Sourcing investment opportunities for member investors;
  • Developing regional reports on venture capital and new venture data; and
  • Supporting regional professional development and educational programs and investment competitions.

From Crossville:

The Cumberland Business Incubator (CBI) has office space available. There are three offices with cabinets and sinks, and they are approximately 11.5 feet by 12 feet. The facility, which is located on the Roane State Community College campus, also has announced that it will soon offer co-working space that offers hourly, daily, weekly and monthly rental options.

To learn more, call CBI at 931/456-4910 to schedule an appointment to see available space options.

From Washington, DC:

Memphis-based AgLaunch Engine has secured additional funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to continue its work under SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters (RIC) program to support the growth and development of agriculture technologies (AgTech) in the mid-south Delta region.

AgLaunch’s Delta Cluster will focus on providing support to the industry sector in 102 counties along the Mississippi River, encompassing counties in Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Through the cluster, AgLaunch is focused on building a more robust and resilient food supply chain and advancing high-growth opportunities in advanced robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence in Climate-Smart agriculture.

Two contract awardees are new to the RIC program in 2023, while AgLaunch and one other are returning awardees, positioned with new contracts to continue and expand work in their respective regions.

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