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March 17, 2020 | Tom Ballard

Region’s entrepreneur centers provide updates on operations as a result of the coronavirus

Several of the members of Launch Tennessee’s Entrepreneur Center Network have posted updates or provided us with an update about the availability of their facilities to their members.

As noted in a post yesterday on, the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) is shut down for the next few weeks. In an email yesterday, Executive Director Jim Biggs elaborated on the decision, writing: “We have been closely monitoring the current COVID-19 situation, and out of respect for the health of the community we serve, KEC will be closing our office to the public for the foreseeable future. Programming, events, and mentoring will be moving online where possible so we can continue serving our community. We will send out a list of resources and event updates in the coming days. Feel free to contact us via email at You can also leave us a voicemail on our office phone at (865) 282-4322. We will get back to you as soon as we can.”

Here are operational updates from four other members of the Launch Tennessee network in light of the coronavirus.

  • Jeff Brown at The Biz Foundry in Cookeville said in a text message, “We are postponing events and workshops for six weeks and restricting co-working to full-time members only for now.” As Brown subsequently noted in an email, “I think we can agree this has been the strangest two weeks that most of us have encountered in our business and entrepreneurial journeys.” He was referencing the tornado that devastated parts of Putnam County and now the coronavirus. “A one-two punch to our community.”
  • In Northeast Tennessee, Sync.Space, Launch Tennessee’s newest network member, remains open as far as co-working, Founder Heath Guinn told us in an text message. “We are limiting some access but (are) still open. No meetings or events but still open for co-working and offering no-cost access to teleconference room.”
  • The following message was posted on the website for Chattanooga’s CO.LAB: “After listening closely to federal, state, and local officials regarding necessary action to prevent further spread of COVID-19, we have decided to close our office through March 31, 2020. It is our mission to support the entrepreneurial community, so we see it as a highest priority to help ensure our staff’s and community’s health and safety at this time. If an extension is necessary, we will let you know closer to March 31. However, our mission to support you—the entrepreneurial community—continues. We have more than doubled availability for Wayfinding Meetings, which each of our team members are equipped to conduct virtually. Our Office Hours program will continue to serve those who need subject matter expertise through virtual advising. We are also working hard to ensure other program offerings at this time, such as CO.STARTERS, will continue to serve you. Finally, we recognize this is a difficult time for businesses in our community and around the world. For entrepreneurs, please reach out to our team at if you have any questions about business support during this time. For supporters of entrepreneurs, please consider ways to support small businesses in a way that is safe for you and others, such as purchasing gift cards or shopping via e-commerce. Above all, we encourage everyone to extend kindness and support to our neighbors. We look forward to continuing to support you and to opening our doors to you again.”
  • Here’s the message from the Nashville Entrepreneur Center on its website: “Due to the Federal COVID-19 Task Force asking that we do our effort to reduce the health crisis curve and the Mayor’s statement today asking for employers to have people work from home, we have made the decision that the majority of the EC team will work from home starting Monday, March 16th. Here’s what you need to know: (1) Access to the building. You will continue to have access to the building. This will be the case unless you hear differently. We will work to give you as much notice as possible. (2) Lockbox precautions. For those with a lockbox, due to the uncertainty we recommend that all packages, especially those essential to keeping your business running, be sent to your home address for the foreseeable future. If we need to close the building all USPS, Fed Ex and UPS delivery services to the facility will be paused until we are able to reopen.