Applications now being accepted for Northeast TN’s new “Restart Accelerator”

Big news from Northeast Tennessee late last week.

As the region prepares in several different ways to help its small businesses recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans were announced for a new program named, appropriately enough, the “Restart Accelerator.”

The initiative is a collaboration involving the Sync Space Entrepreneur Center, the newest member of Launch Tennessee’s statewide network (see our earlier article), and TSG Innovation Group, with support from Activated Capital.

“We are very proud of our regional leadership and the ongoing efforts to help our small business community including Region Ahead and the Small Business Recovery Fund.” says Heath Guinn, President of Sync Space, in this news release (Restart-Accelerator-Press-Release). “Entrepreneurs are inventive by nature, and always find ways to innovate in times of uncertainty. This restart program is designed to automate those innovative solutions as we look forward and begin restarting the regional economy.”

The new accelerator “will identify, promote, and nurture companies with technology, products, and services that will overcome the challenges in the new economy and help implement these solutions for struggling businesses in our region,” according to the release.

Last week’s announcement noted the impact that “Stay at Home” directives and the resulting shutdown of the economy have had a severe and negative impact on local small businesses that will need to rebuild and adapt to the new economic environment after the pandemic subsides. New trends have clearly emerged like adding delivery and curbside services and shifting to much greater use of online video conferencing, and they are likely to impact the way business and customer service is conducted in the future.

“These shifts will not simply disappear once things return to the new normal,” said Dave Clark, Chief Executive Officer of TSG Innovation Group. “Through the ‘Restart Accelerator,’ we are looking to accelerate the growth of innovative companies who have solutions that can immediately be implemented to help our small businesses adjust to the new economic environment.”

Applications for the accelerator are now being accepted. The deadline to apply is May 8, and the program starts May 18.

Under the arrangement, the program will receive financial support from Activated Capital, a private investment fund founded in 2018, and the public sector through Sync Space. The objective is to continue to acquire private sector support for the program and investment in scalable companies identified by the program. Sync Space will coordinate with state and local governments to facilitate support and also collaborate with TSG Innovation Group to operate the program.

According to its website, Activated Capital was founded “to bring a measurable double-bottom line – financial and social return by aligning within the communities in which we serve – instead of the traditional top-down investment approach.”

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