Chattanooga's Enterprise Center is shifting its mission to focus more on growing the city's "innovation economy" and addressing issues such as technology access for all citizens, officials said today.
The announcement follows a report sent to Mayor Andy Berke last week from the Chattanooga Forward task force recommending the creation of an entity to explore creative strategies to utilize the community's technological assets such as the high speed gigabit infrastructure.
"As Chattanooga is becoming a leader in the innovation century, we must capitalize on the momentum of the Gig and our city's entrepreneurial spirit," said Berke in a statement, who announced the change with Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.
The Enterprise Center has overseen a variety of initiatives since 2002, including technology transfer alliances with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and NASA's Huntsville, Ala., location. It also oversees the city's high-speed rail and many entrepreneurial efforts.
Wayne Cropp, the Enterprise Center's longtime chief, will leave that post.
"Now, the center is positioned to take on a new role as the hub for connecting the gigabyte as an economic development catalyst. While this approach is more narrowly focused on leveraging our digital assets and building our entrepreneurial community, it builds on the accomplishments of the past decade," Cropp said.
The center's transition team will include Kristina Montague, The Jump Fund; Ted Alling, Lamp Post Group; Ken Hays, Kinsey, Probasco & Hays; David Belitz, Chattanooga Renaissance Fund; Sydney Crisp, Unum; and Sarah Morgan, Benwood Foundation.
See more in Wednesday's Times Free Press.