Charlie Brock emphasized what he called the three Cs – competition, communication and collaboration – as the strategies that Tennessee must follow to be successful in innovation-based economic development during his Wednesday presentation at Tech 20/20’s “Hot Topics” luncheon.
“Collaboration is the key, but you can’t get there without communication,” the President and Chief Executive Officer of LaunchTN told about 50 people attending the monthly event. He added that his organization is focused on determining the best ways to “draw on the unique strengths” of each community and region and foster more alliances, whether local or with an entrepreneur or company in another part of the state.
“That’s the only way Tennessee can win,” Brock said, noting that 60 percent of the nation’s venture capital is based in California or Massachusetts.
“Tech 20/20 and East Tennessee can be a real showcase,” he added, citing the region’s assets like Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee.
Brock noted several upcoming events that LaunchTN has designed to help overcome some of the barriers to success. One is next month’s “Southland” conference that will significantly elevate the state’s profile by attracting venture capitalists and national speakers from around the country. Part of the attraction to get them to Tennessee is the fact that “Southland” is positioned between the Country Music Association’s annual “Fan Fair” and Bonnaro.
Another activity is the first ever statewide “Demo Day” set for August 27 in Nashville. Entrepreneurs participating in the nine regional accelerator boot camps will present their companies to a panel of judges that will select the “Tennessee 10.”
LaunchTN will take the winning entrepreneurs on a statewide tour the next week and hold a national road show later in the year to California, Massachusetts and New York. Both tours, designed to attract investors and customers, are funded by a grant from the Blackstone Group.
Jill Van Beke, LaunchTN’s East Tennessee Director, also spoke and announced a series of special monthly meetings focused on entrepreneurs, inventors and investors. We will publish more on those meetings next week.