2016 Entrepreneur's Outlook(EDITOR’S NOTE: For nearly four years, we have been profiling young, aspiring entrepreneurs as well as those who are into their second, third or even seventh undertaking. So, we decided to ask a few of those entrepreneurs to share their thoughts with us as we begin a brand new year.)

Tom Mann is Chief Executive Officer of TrakLok International, LLC, a local start-up that developed an integrated access control system to provide a complete solution for the security of remote inventory. Mann is a serial entrepreneur who decided several years ago to relocate to Knoxville from California. We first profiled him and the company in early 2012 and have posted periodic updates on the company since then.

  • How would you describe the local entrepreneurial ecosystem as we enter 2016?  I believe the local ecosystem is very supportive of entrepreneurs. There are several organizations and a lot of individuals willing to mentor and support early stage companies. The one thing I would note is since there are several organizations to support entrepreneurs, there is some political infighting between these organizations. Unfortunately, this results in wasted efforts and funding that could be better utilized in supporting start up efforts.
  • How has the ecosystem changed in the last few years? It seems that there is more funding for “support organizations.” As a result there is more money in the “business of supporting entrepreneurs.”
  • If you could wave a magic wand and get your wish as to one or two changes that would make it easier for local entrepreneurs to succeed, what would those be? More resources to build low cost prototypes, more resources to test (market study) new products and software.
  • Most individuals make a special wish as they ring in a New Year. What wishes do you have for your company in 2016? A strategic alliance with a large company in the market.  This would give us a baseline of sales that would result in money stability for the company.

Stay connected with us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Article ideas and other suggestions should be sent to Include the name and contact information (phone and email) for follow-up.