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September 15, 2020 | Tom Ballard

TennSMART announces launch of new “Automotive & Mobility Mentor Network”

TennSMART, a statewide consortium of public and private organizations working to advance intelligent mobility solutions in Tennessee, yesterday launched the “Automotive & Mobility Mentor Network,” joining the already established mentor network program supported by Launch Tennessee.

Like its siblings, the new initiative pairs mentors with promising new companies through a structured, stage-gate process involving panel presentations and one-on-one mentoring sessions. The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups and grow the automotive, transportation, and mobility sectors in the state.

The new “Automotive & Mobility Mentor Network” was announced several weeks ago during the “36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival” (see our article here). It joins two established programs focused on life science and energy and another new initiative targeting the agricultural sector.

“TennSMART is proud to partner with LaunchTN to run the Automotive & Mobility Mentor Network,” said Claus Daniel, Board President of TennSMART and Director of Applied Energy Programs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). “We established this consortium in order to connect the smart mobility sector in Tennessee and bring automotive, intelligent mobility, and energy efficient technologies to market for improved transportation. We look forward to furthering this goal by mentoring entrepreneurs who play such a vital role in our state’s innovation economy.”

Gary Rawlings, who has extensive experience helping companies validate their advanced technology and take it from the lab to the market, is Mentor Program Director. He also currently supports the “Innovation Crossroads” program at ORNL.

“With regulations and supply chain issues, it can be difficult for auto startups to break through and make connections to the industry,” said Van Tucker, Interim Chief Executive Officer of LaunchTN. “We’re thrilled to offer a way for startups to bring their innovations before industry experts and believe that TennSMART’s broad view of intelligent mobility will open doors for all kinds of exciting companies.”

The “Automotive & Mobility Mentor Network” is seeking companies who are developing transportation technologies and experts, including TennSMART members, to serve as mentors following a training. For more information and to apply to the program as either a company or mentor, click here.

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