New report analyzes state entrepreneurial landscape, outlines key recommendations

Launch Tennessee, the state’s public-private partnership fostering entrepreneurship, released a new report yesterday in conjunction with TEConomy Partners, a global leader in research, analysis and strategy for innovation-based economic development.

Titled “Analyzing Tennessee’s Entrepreneurial Landscape,” the study was designed to determine barriers to start-up activity and offer policy recommendations that leverage opportunities aligned with Launch Tennessee’s mission of making Tennessee a more friendly state for start-ups.

The report assesses the strengths and weaknesses of Tennessee’s ecosystem by exploring key market indicators as well as factors instrumental to start-up success such as access to capital, commercialization and tech transfer support, and talent. The report also benchmarks Tennessee’s network model and financing to other peer states, including Ohio, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky.

“We know that entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic growth, and this report outlines a roadmap for how to ensure our network of partners works collaboratively to create more opportunities for individuals to build companies and create jobs in Tennessee,” said Margaret Dolan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Launch Tennessee.

The report concludes with the following recommendations to address challenges to entrepreneurial growth:

  • Design a capital initiative based on the success of current funding initiatives like the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Matching Grant Program;
  • Expand programming that facilitates introductions among larger, established businesses seeking innovative products and services and the startup community;
  • Increase support for tech transfer offices at regional universities that currently lack this infrastructure;
  • Pilot and scale new workforce initiatives that create a pipeline of talent for Tennessee’s startups and companies beginning at grades K-12; and
  • Double the state’s investment in the organization from $5.3 million annually to $10.6 million.

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