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Staff file photo by Erin O. Smith / Marcus Shaw, Co.Lab CEO, says that Startup Week is an event for people to get plugged into the local startup community.

Whether you're looking to learn more about the music industry, get close to 3-D printers, hear tips for attracting investors, or cultivate wellness in the chaos of launching a business, Startup Week probably has a session about that.

The week kicks off Saturday, and features more than 100 events through Friday in and around Chattanooga's Innovation District. Startup Week also includes a healthy dose of competition, with several events dedicated to pitch contests and recognition of innovative and successful startups.

But the week isn't just for entrepreneurs or Innovation District regulars, said Marcus Shaw, the CEO of Co.Lab, the non-profit that spearheads the event.

Maker Day

On Saturday, Startup Week kicks off with a daylong event for “makers” of every sort at the Chattanooga Public Library. The public showcase of artists, builders, scientists, hobbyists, and everyone in between is free and open to the public. To learn more about Chattanooga Maker Day, visit colab.co/makerday

To see the full Startup Week schedule, visit colab.co/startupweekcha/

"It is a truly inclusive event for those looking to get plugged into the local startup community, whether they want to invest, start their own business, work for a startup, learn something new, or even just network," Shaw said.

Begun in 2013, Chattanooga's Startup Week is designed to inspire and celebrate the success of small businesses. Startup Week includes the Chamber of Commerce's Spirit of Innovation awards, which recognize companies launching innovative products, practices or processes that give them a competitive edge in the marketplace. The week also features $50,000 of awards by the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union for its Idea Leap grants for startup companies, and Co.Lab's annual awards for top startup businesses, change-makers and ecosystem builders.

For entrepreneurs, one of Chattanooga's biggest advantages is relatively low costs for starting a business. The online financial website SmartAsset analyzed 80 major U.S. cities for the costs of office space, labor, utilities, filing fees and legal and accounting fees. For the fifth consecutive year in 2019, Chattanooga boasted the lowest cost of any city in the country.

Every year, Startup Week attracts people from across the region who want to learn more about Chattanooga's business and innovation culture, Shaw said.

"We see a diverse group of attendees from all around the Chattanooga region that haven't been plugged into the startup community, as well as many from surrounding major markets such as Atlanta and Nashville who are curious about the growth and opportunities happening here in Chattanooga," he said.

Contact Mary Fortune at mfortune@timesfreepress.com or (423) 757-6653. Follow her on Twitter at @maryfortune.

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