Kingsport Times-News: Meet Launch Tennessee
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Meet Launch Tennessee

Hank Hayes • Dec 3, 2018 at 8:30 AM

JOHNSON CITY – The Margaret Dolan road show recently rolled through the Tri-Cities with a goal of meeting as many decision makers and venture capitalists as possible.

Dolan is the new president and CEO of Launch Tennessee.

What is Launch Tennessee?

Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership that supports entrepreneurs from idea creation and is guided by a vision of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation. Partnering with entrepreneur centers in six regions, Launch Tennessee creates collaboration among entrepreneurs, the private sector, capital sources, institutions and government.

Among its programs, Launch Tennessee oversees the IMPACT Fund, which invests in startups solving social, environmental and economic problems.

Kingsport has a number of existing resources for entrepreneurs, including the Kingsport Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, ACCEL Now and the Holston Business Development Center.

Who is Margaret Dolan?

Dolan brings a wealth of financial, executive and nonprofit experience to her new role. Most recently, she was principal at Neil Strategies, LLC, an independent consulting firm, and president and CEO of LocalShares, LLC, a financial services company and subsidiary of Worth Group, LLC. Prior to that, Dolan served as president and CEO of Saint Thomas Health Foundations as well as executive vice president for Institutional Advancement at Saint Thomas Health. Dolan also enjoyed more than two decades with Ingram Industries Inc. following the start of her career as a certified public accountant with KPMG.

Dolan answered these questions:

What are your expectations with Governor-elect Bill Lee’s incoming administration?

“I am very excited. I’ve had some preliminary conversations with the governor-elect. He is an entrepreneur and a businessman himself so he understands and appreciates the struggles small business and job creators go through so I’m particularly excited about working with him, especially in regard to the rural communities. We think there is enormous opportunity across the state, particularly outside the urban centers where we can help business start and grow.”

What are your goals?

“We have a lot of metrics we’re working on that do include job growth and company creation.”

How would you assess the pool of entrepreneurs in Northeast Tennessee?

“I’ve actually talked with several who are really interesting and I love the number of organizations from chambers to (business) accelerators to school systems to corporate partners who are really focused on economic development and in particular stimulating economic development through small business.”

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