Eight entrepreneurs from the Chattanooga area took home top prizes on Thursday night during the annual “Chambliss Startup Awards” event that is one of the highlights of “Startup Week CHA.” The five-day celebration started on Monday and concluded on Friday after a series of pitch events and dozens of other activities.
Festivities for the awards event started at Naked River Brewing Company before the Howard High School band led the crowd to First Tennessee Pavilion where the ceremony took place. There, members of the Chattanooga Football Club team were on site to hand out the soccer-ball shaped awards.
The winners were:
- The “Charlie Brock Ecosystem Impact Award,” named for the former President and Chief Executive Officer of Launch Tennessee and CO.LAB, went to Hal Bowling (pictured right), Co-Founder and Executive Director of LAUNCH Chattanooga. Over the past 10 years, the organization has supported 389 businesses that have created 442 jobs. Its core programs range from “LAUNCH CHA,” a 10-week course for entrepreneurs starting a business to its “LAUNCHing Bright Ideas” (focused on high school students), “StartSpark” (focused on underrepresented entrepreneurs), and KIC, shorthand for the Kitchen Incubator of Chattanooga that is a start-up space for what the organization describes as “food-centric entrepreneurs.”
- “Rising Star Award,” presented by the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, went to Mountain View Low Vision Services and Cheryl Saucier, its Founder. The more than 25-year veteran of the industry launched the company in early 2019 to offer a wide variety of high-quality low vision products to people with vision loss.
- “Goldfinch of the Year,” presented by INCubator, went to Hoff & Pepper, a maker of small batch hot sauces and tenant at the INCubator, the 127,000-square foot business development center serving Hamilton County.
- “Volunteer of the Year,” sponsored by The Enterprise Center and Tech Goes Home, went to Joyce Watson, Founder of Young Ladies of Power Inc.
- “Latino Entrepreneur of the Year,” presented by Lapaz, was awarded to Carlos Garcia of LogistiX Inc.
- “High Growth Company of the Year,” selected by CO.LAB, organizer of “Startup Week CHA,” went to Text Request. We have spotlighted the company and its business texting platform on numerous occasions, most recently in this May 2021 biz article.
- “Micro Business of the Year,” awarded by LAUNCH Chattanooga, was presented to She Trucking. Founded by Sharae Moore, the company empowers women in trucking through community and mentorship.
- “Startup of the Year,” selected through a public voting process, went to Be Caffeinated. It is a drive through coffee shop in the Red Bank community that is based on four pillars – cultivate kindness, foster community, be happy, and be caffeinated.