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July 24, 2022 | Tom Ballard

Tasia Malakasis wants CO.LAB to be best in nation at what it does

Just weeks after assuming the Chief Executive Officer position for Chattanooga’s CO.LAB, Tasia Malakasis announced a bold goal that will impact the annual “Startup Week CHA” that the nonprofit coordinates.

It was announced on Friday that she is on a mission to make the Chattanooga nonprofit the best in the nation at what it does, and with that will come a fresh and more influential version of the weeklong celebration that has been held in October.

“We are in the process of building a bigger and better CO.LAB, which means we will be building a bigger and better Startup Week,” Malakasis said. “We will be announcing plans for 2023 soon.” Although the event will not happen in its traditional form this year, two main events from “Startup Week CHA” – Double Cola’s “Will This Float?” and the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union’s (TVFCU) “Idea Leap” – will now take on stand-alone formats in October. Breaking these two events out individually is a result of their success and prestige.

Friday’s announcement said that Double Cola will present “Will This Float?” as part of its centennial celebration that includes both a rich history and on the cutting edge of innovation — making it the ideal partner for CO.LAB. TVFCU is celebrating the fifth year of its “Idea Leap” initiative with grants totaling $100,000 for five local entrepreneurs. The grants will be awarded at the TVFCU-hosted pitch competition on October 18. (See this recent article for more details on the process leading up to the pitch event.)

Malakasis and her team are currently described as “knee-deep in work” to elevate CO. LAB’s impact and refine its focus – all with the goal of providing the most meaningful, significant services to Chattanooga founders. “CO.LAB has a rich history and legacy, and it’s our intention to capitalize on the momentum of the recent spotlight Chattanooga has as a significant entrepreneurial player,” Malakasis said, citing specifically Forbes which recently listed Chattanooga as a rising tech and venture capital hub

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