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September 23, 2012 | Tom Ballard

Angel-focused event planned for October 9 in Johnson City

AccelNow, the Northeast Tennessee start-up accelerator hosted by East Tennessee State University (ETSU), has several events planned for the fall, according to Director Dave Lawrence.

In a recent interview with, he described an all-day event on October 9 that will be focused on existing and prospective angel investors as well as those interested in the topic.

The workshop starts at 8 a.m. at Johnson City Millennium Centre and runs until 5 p.m. A reception will follow. There is no registration fee, but pre-registration is required. Those interested in attending should email Lawrence at

The October 9 event is part of an effort to “get an angel network organized,” Lawrence said. He credited Tony Lettich, a former Eastman executive and active angel, for his role in leading the network-building effort.

“Having an angel investor lead the effort is a good thing,” Lawrence said.

Jon Smith, who heads ETSU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, wrote the proposal that won the State of Tennessee’s designation of AccelNow as the region’s accelerator.

“We are trying to build an ecosystem, and this (the angel network) is an important first step,” Smith said. Lawrence added that it is “one of the essential pieces of the proposal.”

Bob Okabe, a facilitator with the Angel Resource Institute, will lead the day-long workshop. The Institute is part of the Angel Capital Association that is funded by the Kauffman Foundation.

Lawrence said attendees will learn the “nuts and bolts” of angel networks including ways to communicate with angels and present ideas as well as understanding the manner in which angels conduct their due diligence. Active angels from other parts of Tennessee will share their experiences with the attendees.

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