Tech Economy: TTDC targets Angels and Entrepreneurs
By Milt Capps
Tennessee Technology Development Corporation has retained two companies to help improve the odds of success for high-growth entrepreneurial ventures in Tennessee.
Nashville-based TTDC has contracted with Nashville Capital Network, the six-year-old firm that has attracted more than 50 local angels, for a five-month push to develop educational content and programs for investors and entrepreneurs statewide. NCN is led by Executive Director Sid Chambless (left).
Documents obtained by VNC from TTDC explain NCN has been retained to improve "the availability of capital, stimulate entrepreneurship and create an entrepreneurial culture in Tennessee."
Notably, the project also calls for NCN to help TTDC determine whether the business community sees value in creating a credentialing or certification program to help entrepreneurs evaluate investors with whom they deal. Under the contract, which began in January, TTDC is paying NCN $6,000 per month, for a projected total of $30,000.
In hiring Mercury, TTDC officials have made clear their aim is to plug gaps and repair weaknesses in the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem, while improving the quality and accuracy of information provided to entrepreneurs through educational, networking and outreach programs. As previously reported by VNC, Mercury has been deeply involved in similar work in the Memphis area.
Both the NCN and Mercury contracts are intended to complement work being performed under other contracts TTDC has previously awarded, including the previously reported TECworks initiative underway in West Tennessee.
Respectively, the NCN and Mercury assignments fall into TTDC's capital-formation domain; and, into TTDC's effort to foster networks of and for entrepreneurs.
The NCN and Mercury contracts were in discussion and development for months, and were approved at the regular Jan. 22 meeting of the board of directors of TTDC. TTDC President Eric Cromwell and TTDC Vice President Dan Schmisseur are the key executives designing these and other contracts. ♦