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October 12, 2022 | Tom Ballard

TennSMART names its first-ever Director of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization

TennSMART, the public-private statewide consortium focused on elevating Tennessee to the forefront of smart mobility solutions, has announced the appointment of Bryan Barringer as the organization’s first-ever Director of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization.

The serial entrepreneur and seasoned mentor comes to TennSMART several months after leaving his position as Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Christian Brothers University (CBU) in Memphis. In the new role, Barringer will encourage Tennessee entrepreneurs to solve automotive industry challenges and put Tennessee on the leading edge of technology and smart infrastructure development.

“We are thrilled to have Bryan manage this new portfolio for TennSMART,” said Rich Davies, Board President of TennSMART and Director of the Sustainable Transportation Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “As the state seeks to position itself as a leader for future mobility research and development, investment in early-stage companies and innovative entrepreneurs will be essential. Bryan has proven himself to be more than capable of sparking a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Barringer (pictured right) will oversee several programs for TennSMART funded by a grant from Launch Tennessee. He will manage and serve as the lead Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Automotive & Mobility Mentor Network, a structured program offering start-up founders strategic business, marketing, and financial expertise from industry mentors. It is the latest addition to programs that Launch Tennessee operates for start-ups in the life science, advanced energy, and agriculture sectors.

Barringer will also launch two additional programs. One is an “Automotive & Smart Mobility Challenge,” a 12-week accelerator program that gives participants hands on experience in commercialization and entrepreneurship with intellectual property developed at Tennessee’s leading research institutions. The other is a Reverse Pitch program between universities, entrepreneur centers, and TennSMART members.

Barringer brings more than three decades of experience in start-up life to this role. He has helped start-up founders plan, establish, execute and scale their concepts to form viable companies with solid product-market fit. He has also developed and delivered entrepreneurial curriculum that addresses the knowledge and skill gaps of aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators.

In addition to the CBU role, Barringer was also the Director of the 800 Initiative, a public-private partnership that assisted more than 2,000 minority-owned businesses with an active portfolio of 55 firms receiving ongoing entrepreneurial support in the form of programs, curriculum, talent and capital from public and private sources.


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