A guide to entrepreneurial resources in Chattanooga

Photography by Jennifer McNally / Brickyard
Photography by Jennifer McNally / Brickyard

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Chattanooga. New businesses are born every day. But sometimes getting the right assistance can make all the difference as to whether they continue to thrive. We've put together a list of organizations dedicated to providing training and resources to the city's beginning business community.


* Mission: Provides early stage capital, educational resources and focused mentorship to young startups.

* Community served: Startups within the Brickyard portfolio.

* Directors: Matt Patterson and Cam Doody

* Address: 917 E 16th St.

Chattanooga, TN 37408

* Web: justlaybrick.com


* Mission: Provides entrepreneurs with capital programming such as accelerators, mentorship, networking, talent development and recruitment.

* Community served: Entrepreneurs who are aiming to scale their business. Historically, CO.LAB's programs have targeted specific industries, such as ventures that use the gig. Their most recent pitch competition focused on consumer packaged goods.

* Director: Tasia Malakasis

* Address: The Edney Innovation Center

1100 Market St., Ste. 100

Chattanooga, TN 37402

* Phone: 423-281-0811

* Email: info@colab.com

* Web: colab.co


* Mission: Connecting people, organizations and technology to help improve quality of life for Chattanooga residents.

* Community served: Any person or small business fitting the organization's definition of "low income" is eligible to sign up for free digital skills classes. For those who complete 50 hours of training, the center offers new Chrome books for a $50 co-pay and assistance in receiving free or low-cost online access.

* Director: Debra Socia

* Address: The Edney Innovation Center

1100 Market St., Ste. 500

Chattanooga, TN 37402

* Phone: 423-661-3300

* Web: theenterprisectr.org


* Mission: Helping entrepreneurs achieve success through a three-year, progressive development program that capitalizes on the synergy of the BDC's entrepreneurial ecosystem, made up of about 50 startup businesses. Clients are provided with shared administrative services, manufacturing and office space, training workshops, use of a state-of-the-art technology conference center and access to free on-site business counseling from the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC).

* Community served: Participants must be within their first few years of a business startup. They must be for profit, have a written business plan with three years of projections, meet with a counselor with the TSBDC, and apply and pitch to the 5&5 committee, who will determine if they are a fit for the program.

* Director: Bill Lupia

* Address: 100 Cherokee Blvd., Ste. 100

Chattanooga, TN 37405

* Phone: 423-752-4301

* Web: chattanoogachamber.com/incubator


* Mission: Empowering food industry entrepreneurs with the space, tools and resources for successful and healthy business growth.

* Community served: Food startups, with a focus on underrepresented food entrepreneurs.

* Director: Mark Holland

* Address: 5704 Marlin Rd.

Chattanooga, TN 37411

* Phone: 423-523-9307

* Web: kitcheninchatt.org


* Mission: Empowering communities and individuals through entrepreneurship.

* Community served: Startups, with a focus on underrepresented entrepreneurs.

* Director: Hal Bowling

* Address: 100 Cherokee Blvd.

Chattanooga, TN 37405

* Phone: 423-523-9307

* Web: LAUNCHcha.org


* Mission: Proof's mission is to help food and beverage entrepreneurs be better at business and to use food and beverage as a tool for growth and creating communities in rural and urban markets. Proof offers industry-specific programs, accelerators, mentors, and a shared commissary kitchen. Proof's programs are often offered in partnership with other ecosystem partners (like the Small Business Development Center or the Urban League).

* Community served: Food and beverage entrepreneurs including chefs, restaurant owners, or consumer brands with a product to sell. Proof offers courses like:

• Restaurant Resilience – an 8-week course for entrepreneurs in food-service

• Consumer Goods Startups – an accelerator program for product-based food and beverage companies

• Food and beverage workshops

* Directors: Michael Robinson and Mia Littlejohn

* Address: 422 E. MLK King Blvd.

Chattanooga, TN 37403

* Email: info@proofincubator.com

* Phone: 423-541-6858

* Web: proofincubator.com


* Mission: Foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education.

* Community served: SCORE serves any existing small businesses, entrepreneurs, and those who are considering small business ownership.

* Director: Steven Moore

* Address: 5726 Marlin Rd.

Chattanooga, TN 37411

* Email: ch.admin0211@scorevolunteer.org

* Phone: 423-553-1722

* Web: chattanooga.score.org


* Mission: Providing entrepreneurs and small business owners with free, easy access to the assistance, resources and information they need to thrive.

* Community served: Entrepreneurs and small business owners.

* Director: Charles Wood

* Address: 811 Broad Street, Ste. 100

Chattanooga, TN 37402

* Email: info@startingblockchattanooga.com

* Phone: 423-752-4301 (INCubator main number)

* Web: startingblockchattanooga.com


* Mission: TSBDC is a network of 1,000 centers dedicated to helping small businesses at any stage with technical assistance, research and connections.

* Community served: Services are available at no cost to any small business -- startup, growth stage, mature -- over a nine county area across Southeast Tennessee.

* Director: Lynn Chesnutt

* Address: 100 Cherokee Blvd., Ste. 202

Chattanooga, TN 37405

* Phone: 423-756-8668

* Email: chatt@tsbdc.org

* Web: tsbdc.org


* Built to last: Chattanooga’s legacy of iconic brands

* Built to last: Chattanooga Bakery

* Built to last: Coca-Cola Bottling

* Built to last: Chattanooga Times Free Press

* Built to last: Krystal Restaurants

* Built to last: McKee Foods

* Starting a business: 5 things I wish I knew

  photo  Photography by Matt Hamilton / Proof Bar and Incubator

  photo  Photography by Robin Rudd / Hamilton County Business Development Center/INCubator
  photo  Photography courtesy Tennessee Small Business Development Center / Tennessee Small Business Development Center
  photo  Photography by Jennifer McNally / The Company Lab
  photo  Photography by Jennifer McNally / Kitchen Incubator of Chattanooga
  photo  Photography courtesy of the Enterprise Center / Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly participates in a Tech Goes Home computer basics course at the Enterprise Center.

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