Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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October 02, 2022 | Tom Ballard

A few remaining items from “3686 Festival” top this week’s “News & Notes” feature

Topping this week’s “News & Notes” feature are several briefs from conversations in Nashville during last week’s “3686 Festival.” In addition, there’s good news on several fronts including action in both chambers of the U.S. Congress to reauthorize two federal programs important to tech-based start-ups.

From Last Week’s “3686 Festival” in Nashville:

  • During one of the panel sessions, Cam Doody, one of the Co-Founders of Chattanooga’s Brickyard (see recent article here), reported that he and his partners had just closed Brickyard Fund I the previous day at $18 million although the final amount might reach $20 million. The five self-funded the initiative at the outset.
  • Also from Chattanooga, Jay Shaffer, Market Director for VentureSouth Chattanooga, reported that the newly formed group (see mid-July article herealready has 17 members or couples.
  • Felicia Jackson, who started CPRWrap Inc. in Chattanooga but has moved its headquarters to Nashville, says she raised the necessary funds to be able to participate in the most recent “Clinton Global Initiative” meeting September 19 and 20 in New York City. We first spotlighted Jackson and her emotion-filled story in this January 2017 article in
  • Liz Bennett, the newly named Director of the Holston Business Development Center in Kingsport, was celebrating the growth in tenants at the facility. When she took over in May, occupancy stood at 51 percent. By last week, it was at 80 percent.

From Washington, DC but Important to Tech-Based Start-ups Everywhere:

Just one day before they were set to sunset at midnight on September 30, the federally-funded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs were reauthorized by Congress for another three years. They are referred to as “America’s Seed Fund” because of the non-diluted capital they provide to start-ups to help further advance their technologies. The U.S. House of Representatives voted 411-9 to pass the 43-page bill, following passage by the U.S. Senate on September 20. The reauthorization legislation includes several new requirements as detailed in this previous post.

From Knoxville:

  • Episode Two of “Energizing Tennessee,” powered by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) and FirstBank, is live! The episode poses the question “How can we electrify Tennessee?” It’s a topic that TAEBC will be exploring during the next few episodes. The most recent episode features Joe Hoagland, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Vice President of Innovation and Research. To listen and subscribe, visit the TAEBC website or wherever you get podcasts.
  • Allison Campbell, Founder of not-for-profit start-up Fluffy Friends for Children with Chronic Conditions, has been accepted into the next cohort of the “Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator Program.” She posted this message on social media: “I can’t wait to take my company to the next level, and today’s the day that we get started!”

From Oak Ridge:

The East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC) is reinstating its quarterly networking event for young professionals under a new brand. Now called “After Work with ETEC,” the inaugural event will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. October 19 in the Institute for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing on the University of Tennessee Research Park (UTRP). Tom Rogers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cherokee Farm Development Corporation, will lead the program. Attendees do not have to be ETEC members. To register, click here.

From Springfield:

Stony Creek Colors, the natural indigo dye manufacturer founded by Sarah Bellos, has been honored with “The Groundbreaker Award” presented by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (The National Chamber of Italian Fashion) during the 2022 “Sustainable Fashion Awards.” The recognition in the Grounded Indigo and Biofusion® category was shared with The Albini Group, Stony Creek Colors’ supply chain partner. It also underscores the ongoing commitment of the two companies to an increasingly sustainable fashion industry and is the emblem of their promise to the planet and nature. Click here to learn more.

From Washington, DC:

Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, announced on Friday that Launch Tennessee and 43 other organizations had been selected to share more than $5.4 million in funding to 44 awardees through the “Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program.” The program provides small businesses and start-ups, particularly those in underserved communities, with specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for research and development. Grant selectees qualify for award amounts of up to $125,000 each, and it is Launch Tennessee’s second year of receiving funding.

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