LaunchTN, the public-private partnership designed to assist entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in the Volunteer State is back in business in Northeast Tennessee. LaunchTN is partnering with Kingsport-based Sync.Space with the goal of creating an accelerator/incubator program in Northeast Tennessee.
A confluence of events, including the election of a governor whose administration places an emphasis on rural economic development and a growing community of entrepreneurs in this end of the state, has brought the two organizations together.
“In August of 2018, I reached out directly to LaunchTN to find out why they hadn’t re-engaged in the northeast,” says Heath Guinn, founder of Sync.Space. “Margaret Dolan, the CEO there, said their main challenge had been how to handle a rural economy. In the big four markets, it’s very easy to get programs off the ground. They hadn’t arrived at the right solution for rural. So, the timing was right for what I was doing with Sync.Space, working with entrepreneurs in a rural area – to partner with them with an idea of how to re-engage us back in the northeast.”
The initial areas of focus will be medical devices and software, population health services and technologies, and education advancement technologies. Ideally, the partnership between LaunchTN and Sync.Space will lead to the creation of a medical accelerator, an advanced manufacturing accelerator and a digital media incubator.
“Our relationship is a network partner just like the big four, but our working relationship is going to be different because our programs are going to be custom fit to the rural environment,” Guinn says. “They have been observing for the last year or so, watching the things we have been doing. I’ve been sending and sharing reports with them. I’ve had over $1.5 million invested in start-ups invested in the last 12 months related to these engagements we’ve been creating at Sync.Space.”