By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
The Cumberland Business Incubator in Crossville (CBI) has announced plans for a new offering named “100 Days to Launch – Tourism.”
As the name implies, the business accelerator that will launch in January is focused on capitalizing on the region’s robust tourism industry, according to CBI Director Holly Hanson, who cites data from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
“Tourism in Tennessee represented $17.7 billion in 2014,” she says. “Tourism-generated jobs reached 152,900. Travelers to Tennessee topped 100 million, and Tennessee is ranked in the Top 10 destinations in the U.S. for total travel.”
Crossville frequently bills itself as the “Golf Capital of Tennessee,” boasting 10 championship courses, but increasingly is citing its numerous other outdoor activities, entertainment venues, and wineries. Among the well-known entertainment stops is the Cumberland County Playhouse that draws more than 100,000 visitors annually
“If we develop more tourism businesses that create a reason to stop or stay in our area, everyone will benefit,” Hanson says, adding, “Our youth will find there is more to do, there will be more jobs, and our area will see a bigger benefit from the 100 million visitors who choose Tennessee.”
Hanson joined CBI in early 2013, bringing a diverse business background to the position as noted in this teknovation.biz post. During her time with the organization, she says CBI has provided a number of programs of varying lengths that have given her a better opportunity to assess how best to help individuals start or expand businesses.
“We knew it was time to adopt the accelerator model for at least one cohort a year – providing a longer time period, additional subject matter expert presentation time and mentor contact time beyond what could be provided during the shorter timeframe models,” Hanson explained.
The result is “100 Days to Launch – Tourism,” an accelerator that has a goal of attracting 10 to 12 entrepreneurs or teams for the boot camp that will launch in January. Applications are now being accepted with an October 29 deadline, and those selected will be notified by November 20.
During the boot camp portion of the program, the teams will focus on the business model canvas and business concept development. When that process is completed, the entrepreneurs will decide if they want to proceed through the next phases of the accelerator.
“There may be fewer that commit to move forward,” Hanson said. “Some (may) choose not to move forward with their business concept after completing the boot camp for a number of reasons including lack of a viable market. The choice is totally up to the participant – there is no elimination criteria.”
The balance of the 100-day program is divided into four phases:
- Phase 1 – Build and Test the Business Model to include development of a minimal viable product, qualitative and quantitative testing and research, customer validation, and assessment of competitive landscape.
- Phase 2 – Build, Launch and Operation of the Business Venture Refinement to include simulation with financial checkpoints; validation, test and review cycles; due diligence; preparation of executive summaries, marketing summaries, and financial models; and development of the draft pitch deck.
- Phase 3 – Preparation for Fundraising to include finalization of executive summary, business plan, and financial approaches.
- Pitch Delivery and /Demo Day to Community.