Return of “3686 Festival” tops our review of headlines from last week and upcoming opportunities

Topping our “News & Notes” this week is something we previously reported, but without any details. Launch Tennessee has announced that it “3686 Festival” returns to Music City as an in-person event September 27-29, and early bird registration opens today.

The popular, multi-state event, which was not held in 2021 and offered virtually in 2020 over parts of two weeks, will begin with what is characterized as a “pre-event kick-off” on September 27. The second day will include fireside chats, experiential workshops, and matchmaking and networking opportunities. The final day is billed as “Experience Nashville with Launch Tennessee.”

From Johnson City:

The sixth annual FoundersForge “Pitch Start-up Competition” begins at 6 p.m. this Thursday at the TVA Credit Union Ballpark, 111 Legion Street in Johnson City. Beer, food and admission are all free as entrepreneurs will compete for $10,000 in prizes. To register, click here. Judges will be:

  • Bo Wilkes, Managing Director of Ballad Health Innovation Center and President of Ballad Ventures;
  • Sonu Mirchandani, Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator at East Tennessee State University and a long-term investor in start-ups;
  • Jeff Kendall, an executive with more than two decades of experience in finance and operations management, business transformation, and project management with start-ups to Fortune 500 companies; and
  • Aaron Sims, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sims Venture Capital.

From Kingsport:

Officials of the new NETNHub, the new multi-jurisdictional regional economic development initiative in Northeast Tennessee, briefed the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen last Monday about their aspirations and plans. Cliff Hightower of the Kingsport Times News, captured the presentation in this article.

From Sparta:

Cookeville-headquartered The Biz Foundry has announced that the summer session of its “Start Up Your Start-up” program will be held at its Sparta location, 21 North Main Street. The four-week program meets twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. CDT and equips aspiring entrepreneurs with insights, relationships and tools needed to turn their business ideas into reality. For more information and a link to registration, click here.

From Chattanooga:

  • Oaklyn Consulting, a Chattanooga-based mergers, acquisitions and capital-raising consulting firm, has announced that Monty Bruell has joined the firm as a partner. He will be based in Atlanta and focus on serving the needs of small- to mid-sized minority- and women-owned business enterprises. Bruell is an entrepreneur, business consultant and investment advisor with more than 25 years’ experience.
  • Hamilton County area residents can benefit from free computer skills courses through “Tech Goes Home Chattanooga’s” newest round of open classes. Community classes for “Computer Basics” begin Wednesday, while “Teacher Edition” courses start the first week of June. Additional opportunities for both course options will be available again in July. Class sizes are limited and registration is required. For more information or to apply for the free classes, individuals should call 423-521-2071 or visit this website.

From Nashville:

  • The Greater Nashville Technology Council is accepting applications for its “Emerging Leaders in Tech (ELITE)” program that provides an opportunity for both experienced and aspiring information technology leaders to come together to collectively gain new skills, share knowledge, and build Nashville’s leadership pool in the tech industry. This three-month, application-only program will provide training, peer-to-peer learning, and executive mentorship for those emerging leaders selected to participate. The 2022 Cohort will meet weekly, beginning August 18 and ending November 4, with a final celebration mixer on November 3. Successful applicants must be Middle Tennessee-based and be employed by an organization that is a member of the Council. The full schedule and program details can be found here. To apply, click here.
  • Vu Technologies Corporation, which opened its new virtual production studio in Music City earlier this year (see article here), will open its latest facility in Orlando this summer. According to Orlando Inno, the Orlando expansion was fueled by a $17 million seed investment round the company announced in March. Waterfall Ventures Investments, managed by Orlando Tech Council Chair Charlie Lewis, brought 30 Orlando-area angel investors into the round who contributed $1.7 million. Vu Technologies also has facilities in Las Vegas and Tampa.

From Washington, DC but About Knoxville:

The Washington Post published an article last week from Bloomberg with this headline: “Remote Working Boom is Huge for College Towns Like Knoxville.” The article can be found here (subscription required). Early in the story, author Conor Sen writes the following:

“For remote-work destinations to be sustainable, they need to accommodate both well-off migrants and the working-class population already in those communities. That adds up to an opportunity for many college towns. The smaller municipalities often are desirable places to live and already have stable local economies driven by higher education activities. But at the same time, many haven’t had the kinds of employment opportunities for college graduates that larger cities do. A generation ago, before it became a booming tech hub, that might have described Austin, Texas. Today it’s places like Athens, Georgia; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Fayetteville, Arkansas — college towns that students have historically left behind after graduation. Now city leaders have a chance to either hold onto their graduates or lure them back once they are professionally established and focused on things like quality of life and cost of living.”

For the Knoxville Chamber, one would assume that the opportunity to retain college graduates would be music to its ears. We posted this article in February 2021 where Mike Odom, President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization, noted a significant challenge for the community. It was the fact that we were losing our future leaders. Over the decade that began in 2010 and ended in 2019, the Knoxville region grew the all-important 25- to 54-year old age group by less than one-half of one percent.

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