Members of the public are needed to pick the People’s Choice Award

Vote for your favorite local business to win the People’s Choice finalist. | Pexels

Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union has named 10 semi-finalists for the 2021 Ideal Leap Grant.

The credit union’s fourth annual Ideal Leap Grant Pitch Competition will take place on Oct.19 during Startup Week (Oct. 18–22).

But, first, the public can vote for the People’s Choice Finalist.

Visit this website for more info, and check out TVFCU Youtube page to watch videos about the finalists.

To get access to the digital ballot, text “TVFCU” to 833–369–4063.

Text the corresponding letter associated with their team number. Voting closes at 5…


CO.LAB invites entrepreneurs to “FLOAT” their ideas at pitch competition — $3,000 prize + other support at stake

Chattanooga, TN — In its 12th year, the Company Lab’s Will This FLOAT pitch competition is going back to its roots.

“This year we’re focused on new business and ideas that meet the FLOAT criteria,” CO.LAB Director of Programs Christine DiPietro said. “For this Will This FLOAT, we want fun, crazy ideas.”

Through this annual event, CO.LAB is aiming to support entrepreneurs with new or soon-to-launch businesses and ideas. …


Aug. 20, 2021

The Company Lab wants to help local startups make it to one of the world’s biggest business pitch competitions.

The Chattanooga nonprofit will pay the $100-early-bird application to the festival for five local startups.

Additionally, if the local startup is selected to pitch at SXSW, the Company Lab will provide a $500 stipend to offset travel expenses to the Austin, Texas event.

“We are hoping to lower the barrier of entry into the South by Southwest pitch competition and give locals a little extra help getting seen on a national and global stage,” CEO Lindsey Cox said.


In the last few months, the COVID-19 crisis suddenly shifted the lives of many across the U.S., especially entrepreneurs. Businesses across many sectors have been faced with unique challenges that, for some, have forced them to pivot their business model or for others deciding to shutter their doors for the time-being. And then there are some business owners who have seen a need to give back and do their part in addressing the crisis. Chattanooga-based Ji Heo, founder of TesBros, is one of those entrepreneurs. …


by Zac Beker

Founder Features showcases alumni of all CO.LAB programs, including accelerators, CO.STARTERS, Kiva, Business Breakdown Sessions and more. Learn more about CO.LAB’s CO.STARTERS program and apply at colab.co/costarters.

In this founder feature, we talked to Janki Vansia to learn more about her story and her company, Opty. Janki commuted to one of CO.STARTERS cohorts for 9 weeks last year all the way from Atlanta, and for those of us familiar with the region, we know just how not-fun that drive can be. But clearly she is relentless when it comes to her business, and we’re excited to see…


by Erroll Wynn

On Oct 24–25, The Company Lab (CO.LAB) hosted its first Unum HBCU Innovation Challenge, in partnership with Unum, the world’s largest provider of disability insurance. This two day business case challenge was born out of both organizations’ commitment to inclusivity and diversity, and a need to explore innovation in an industry subject to changing markets and disruption.

This partnership exposed young talent to an opportunity that could advance their careers. Thirty-two highly accomplished students from fifteen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the eastern region traveled to Chattanooga, TN to showcase their leadership, problem-solving abilities, and…


by Tim Moore

Even if you haven’t heard about Chattanooga, Tennessee, you have likely heard of some of the legacy brands that started here. McKee Foods — you know it as Little Debbie. Chattanooga Bakery — you know it as Moonpie. Lodge Cast Iron, the nation’s oldest manufacturer of cast iron cooking products, sits in our backyard in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee. And while Coca-Cola was first created and distributed as a fountain drink in Atlanta in 1886, two Chattanoogans were the first to bottle it in 1899.

Today, Chattanooga is still a thriving ecosystem for companies with consumer products to…


by Zac Beker

CO.STARTERS is one of the most important programs that we offer at The Company Lab (CO.LAB). The 9-week program provides participants with the framework they need to build out and grow their business. Leading the program for the past 2 years, I have seen some amazing companies get their start. Participants use CO.STARTERS to gain the confidence and knowledge they need to build out their businesses. …


For the past several months our team has been developing the second CO.LAB Insights Report. The first report was completed at the end of 2018 as a continuation of the larger Impact Report that was published in 2017, which summarized the work and impact of our organization and the larger entrepreneurial ecosystem since CO.LAB’s conception in 2010.

While the Insights Report is partially designed to capture the work of our organization this past year, its greater purpose is to inform, enlighten, and inspire the public regarding the state of entrepreneurship in our region.

The data and insights collected and conveyed…


by Katie Smith

This Spring, The Company Lab (CO.LAB) hosted our inaugural HealthTech Accelerator, in partnership with Erlanger Health System and Unum. Eight healthcare startups graduated from the 10-week program prepared to take their companies to the next level. One of the key outcomes for participants was an improved digital presence. This post is focused on expert suggestions for refining your digital media presence.

Those who have embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship know that running a startup comes with a multitude of challenges. As a founder of a startup, you’re not only responsible for developing the business — your role also requires…

The Company Lab

We’re a nonprofit dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship in Chattanooga and Southeast TN. Founders of @COSTARTERS and @GIGTANK. Visit COLAB.CO for more info.

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