FoundersForge, Syncspace, city of Johnson City form entrepreneurial empowerment partnership


Heath Guinn (left) and David Nelson

The City of Johnson City has formed a partnership with Sync Space Entrepreneur Center and FoundersForge to bring entrepreneurial encouragement and empowerment programming to Johnson City. The new partnership provides funding from Johnson City and matching funds from Sync Space to bring FoundersForge’s Startup Bootcamp and other resources to the entrepreneurial community.

The Startup Bootcamp program will be the first program provided through a multi-year investment in programs to cultivate new entrepreneurial efforts. 
Startup Bootcamp is a nine-week program designed for anyone with an idea, inventions, or an early-stage startup that needs additional support. Each cohort is tailored for the attending entrepreneurs and provides education, mentorship, access to potential customers, and preparation for future growth of the business. 

By participating in the program, graduates also agree to the shared mission of the three partners’ joint commitment to give back to the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by speaking, volunteering, and sharing their experiences with future cohorts. The program has been custom designed by the leaders of FoundersForge,  each of whom has attended nationally acclaimed programs such as Google NEXT for Entrepreneurs, Chattanooga’s GigTank, and Atlanta Tech Village’s Accelerator Program. Startup Bootcamp combines aspects of each of those programs.

“Bootcamp programs are very successful when the entrepreneurs are challenged, supported, and are pushed to consider new concepts within their business,” says David Nelson, director of FoundersForge, “But it’s not the program that does the bulk of the challenging. It’s the other entrepreneurs challenging and supporting each other that creates a unique opportunity to create tremendous value to each startup.”

The three partners hope to positively impact job creation and talent retention by encouraging and enabling entrepreneurial talent at the region’s universities, existing companies, and through recruitment programs. Additionally, the partners say they will develop events and activities beyond Startup Bootcamp to engage entrepreneurs and small business owners in support and resources.

“We are incredibly excited about the announcement of this new partnership and the expansion of programs for entrepreneurs and innovation in our region,” says Heath Guinn, president of Sync Space. “With the leadership of Johnson City, we are excited to support the FoundersForge Startup Bootcamp for our early-stage founders as we continue to develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Appalachian Highlands.”

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