LaunchTN President and CEO Charlie Brock stands is shown at Eastman on Monday. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — Big ideas were inside the big bus rolling into the parking lot at Eastman Chemical Co.’s corporate headquarters on Monday morning.
Exiting the bus were 10 entrepreneurs picked by LaunchTN — a Tennessee nonprofit organization helping new business startups — to participate in “The TENN” program to accelerate their growth.
They were chosen from 20 companies that did a sales pitch on a statewide demonstration day last August.
Now they’re doing a road show to raise awareness for the program and get face time with potential investors.
“We’re the only state in the country that has this,” LaunchTN President and CEO Charlie Brock said of the program. “The TENN program is a celebration of some of the best companies coming out of this business accelerator network. We help fund each (business) to some degree but they are responsible for raising funds on their own as well. We help provide support.”
Each entrepreneur, said Brock, has access to three to four mentors to help get their idea going.
“We will help them with strategic advice and networking relationships,” Brock explained. “We’re also trying to give them exposure they otherwise would not get. Being here at Eastman and going across the state meeting people at major corporations who could be potential customers for them is a plus. We teach them how to speak to investors. ... It’s a young group.”
See Tuesday’s print or electronic edition for an expanded version of this story.