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ECD Announces 5-Year Initiative to Make TN No.1 in Southeast for Quality Jobs

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; April 26, 2012:

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development joined the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (TTDC) to announce today the creation of a new, five-year strategic initiative: LaunchTN.

The initiative names TTDC as the lead advocate for the state’s innovation agenda. As a public-private partnership, TTDC will work with the department to see Tennessee’s potential on the innovation front realized.

“LaunchTN is another piece in our plan to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs,” Haslam said. “This initiative will help set Tennessee apart as a state where entrepreneurship and innovation are valued as key economic development tools in our effort to make our state even more business friendly.”

“Entrepreneurship is the key to our state’s economy,” ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty, who is also the Chairman of the Board for TTDC, said. “LaunchTN will allow TTDC to take the driver’s seat for innovation-based economic development and will bring new, exciting opportunities to our state.”

TTDC’s Board of Directors outlined four key areas of focus for LaunchTN:

1. Entrepreneurship, to include the oversight of the nine regional accelerators named by ECD in November 2011, and the organization and management of a statewide business plan competition;

2. Commercialization, including the creation of a new program to aid businesses with the development of business plans and management teams centered around emerging technologies from the state’s research institutions;

3. Capital, including partnering with the nine regional accelerators and existing angel networks to develop and expand angel capital networks across the state, and organizing opportunities for out-of-state venture capital firms to interact with early-stage Tennessee companies seeking funding; and

4. Outreach, to include growing the annual Innovation Conference into one of the leading innovation conferences in the Southeast, and hosting sector-specific events to bring together entrepreneurs, mentors, researchers and investors from across the state and the country.

In addition, under LaunchTN, TTDC will develop and begin a new Governor’s Fellows Program, bringing together high profile, successful business people with rising entrepreneurs for mentorship opportunities. The program will identify and recruit three to five individuals to voluntarily work with LaunchTN as a mentor and to work closely on venture capital and business recruitment for the state.

TTDC has long been a partner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and has worked with the department to help the state compete in the global marketplace. TTDC is a legislatively created, non-profit organization created to encourage science and technology business development in the state. Designed to improve the statewide business climate for innovation and entrepreneurship, TTDC serves as a complement to ongoing business recruitment and expansion efforts of state and local officials.

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