UT-led Regional Coalition Seeking Budding Entrepreneurs, Mentors, Investors

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KNOXVILLE, TN — A newly formed alliance of organizations from 16 East Tennessee counties will host a meeting Thursday, Dec. 15, for budding entrepreneurs, mentors and investors interested in creating businesses and jobs in the area.

The East Tennessee Regional Accelerator Coalition, led by the University of Tennessee Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will host the gathering, 5-7 p.m., at Pershing, Yoakley and Associates. The business is at Cherokee Mills, 2220 Sutherland Ave., Knoxville.

Participants are encouraged to confirm their attendance by Monday, Dec. 12, by sending an e-mail to rsvp@etrac.org.The coalition is recruiting entrepreneurs who are looking for connections to start their businesses, mentors who have experience helping entrepreneurs and investors who are interested in contributing the first dollars in early-stage ventures.

“The biggest complaint we’ve heard is that people don’t know where the resources are to help them be successful,” said Lynn Youngs, director of the UT Anderson Center. “We’re bolstering those resources and also making them available so people know where they are and how to access them.”

The coalition, comprising more than 50 public and private organizations, was formed as a result of Gov. Bill Haslam’s initiative to create jobs statewide through entrepreneurship.

Haslam announced this fall that nine Regional Business Accelerators will be established throughout the state to assist Tennessee entrepreneurs. The accelerators will provide mentoring, education and training, strategic and technical support, and assistance identifying sources of capital.

A $250,000 grant will be awarded to each of the nine Regional Business Accelerators. The funding is a combination of state and federal dollars and contingent upon each accelerator providing at minimum an additional $250,000 in local matching support.

Participating coalition counties include Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union.

For more information about the East Tennessee Regional Accelerator Coalition, visit www.etrac.org.

About University of Tennessee

Haslam College of Business, University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN
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