The first sentence in this news release from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) reads as follows: “Mike Bradshaw is relishing the role of playing matchmaker.” That’s very consistent with what the former Executive Director of CO.LAB told us last July when we interviewed him for this teknovation.biz article.
Now, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UTC’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) has laid the groundwork for an entrepreneurship program to alleviate poverty and increase wealth-building among the economically and socially underrepresented within Chattanooga’s urban core.
The philosophy behind the program, called “Urban Vision Initiative” (UVI), is that “anyone can be an entrepreneur and that entrepreneurship can be a pathway out of poverty,” Bradshaw (pictured right) said in the news release. Beginning after Labor Day, UVI will select 12 entrepreneurs from the alumni of LAUNCH Chattanooga and enroll them into a10-month program that will start with the six-week boot camp that will meet on six consecutive Saturday mornings.
As program facilitator, Bradshaw will match entrepreneurs with the program, introduce and pair UTC student consultants with these entrepreneurs, blend in community mentors and incorporate the knowledge and expertise of UTC faculty and staff. The ultimate goal is fostering and creating 100 sustainable new ventures over the next five years. UVI is made possible by the support of the Frost Family Foundation.