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Regional Accelerators Play Key Role in New LaunchTN Plan

May 02, 2012

Established last year to help entrepreneurs develop business plans and launch companies, Tennessee's nine regional accelerators also will play a key role in the state's new five-year strategic plan through partnerships to create and expand angel capital networks and mentoring for new startups. The LaunchTN initiative was unveiled last week by Gov. Bill Haslam, who charged the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (TTDC) with implementing the plan and serving as the lead advocate for the state's innovation agenda.

TTDC's Board of Directors outlined four focus areas for the plan, including entrepreneurship, commercialization, capital, and outreach. The regional accelerators play a pivotal role in three of those areas, which include:

  • Entrepreneurship — TTDC will oversee and provide support to the nine regional accelerators and help convene regional accelerators to share best practices around entrepreneur business recruitment, business plan screening and mentoring.
  • Commercialization — A new program will be launched to provide co-investment funding to early stage companies looking to develop a technology from a Tennessee-based research institution. Companies obtaining this funding are required to seek business planning support from a regional accelerator.
  • Capital — To support in-state capital recruitment, TTDC will work with regional accelerators and regional angel networks to support the development and growth of angel capital networks across the state.

Regional accelerators also will be tapped to form partnerships with out-of-state venture capital firms. The final component of the plan, outreach, aims to position the state as a national leader in innovation through various partnerships and marketing campaigns. Over the coming months, LaunchTN will develop specific five-year goals on key metrics, which could include percent increase in venture capital funding to Tennessee companies, percent increase in the number of high-growth startups, and percent increase in the number of licenses from research institutions to companies.

Tennesseeaccelerators, state tbed