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November 08, 2011

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has confirmed more than 75 events across the state during the fourth annual Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Nov. 14-20, 2011. This strong showing continues Tennessee’s tradition of offering a variety of events and educational opportunities encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting startup companies.

GEW is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. In Tennessee, organizations throughout the state are hosting business idea pitch contests, speed-networking, entrepreneurial camps, training events and more to celebrate entrepreneurship in the Volunteer State.

“Gov. Haslam recognizes that startups can be a significant source of job creation, and he has placed a renewed focus on supporting entrepreneurship in his Jobs4TN economic development plan,” ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “Global Entrepreneurship Week is an ideal time to celebrate the individuals that bring so many innovative business ideas to life and help further strengthen Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Chattanooga-based Cumberland Signal Labs was recently named to the GEW 50 list as one of the world’s top 50 most innovative companies that launched between GEW 2010 and GEW 2011. The company has developed technology to refit aircraft instruments and joins this elite list of startups having the greatest chance of growing into game-changing firms that will move markets and create jobs. Hundreds of applications from more than 60 countries were judged on concept, growth projections and knowledge of their industry. The startups will now vie for a host of prizes to be announced on Nov. 14, timed with the GEW 2011 kick-off.

Tennessee will officially kick off GEW 2011 with 48 Hour Launch – Launch Now, Sleep Later in Chattanooga, hosted by The Company Lab and Chattanooga Technology Council on Nov. 11- 14. Over $30,000 of prizes will be awarded to winners in three different tracks representing technology based ideas, product based ideas and social innovations.

Hagerty will keynote a luncheon session of the Entrepreneurial Imperative Conference in Knoxville on Thursday, Nov. 17. This exciting event includes: ThriveTN — a workshop series by and for entrepreneurs; Navigator Awards — a celebration of entrepreneurship in our community; LaunchPoint – a series of discussions centered around technology commercialization; TEDx Knoxville — a gathering of big ideas; Convergence – a panel discussion on the state of the entrepreneurial ecosystem; and ThrottleUp!- a business plan competition.

Special events and activities continue throughout the week and around the state. For a complete list of all GEW events in Tennessee please visit http://www.tn.gov/ecd/gew/activities.html. A small sampling of the Tennessee events includes:

East Tennessee

• 4th Annual Will This Float?, Bristol – This popular event will bid entrepreneurs against each other while pitching their business ideas on-stage in a game show format. Audience members will select a winner via text messaging. Will this Float? won the 2010 Thomas H. Muehlenbeck Award for Excellence awarded by The Alliance for Innovation.

• Small Business Night School, Kingsport – This multi-part training provides networking opportunities, marketing strategies, group problem-solving and collaboration, new capital sources to access financing for small business owners and entrepreneurs, and special topics on women-business owners.

Middle Tennessee

• Guy Kawasaki presents at the Fall Leadership Breakfast, Nashville – Entrepreneurs, and small business owners will walk away knowing how to stay ahead of the pack as Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries and
Reality Check, and former chief evangelist for Apple, discusses what he calls "intrapreneurship," or the art of functioning as a startup, even when you are not. His visit is part of the Fall Leadership Breakfast hosted by the Center for Executive Education at Belmont University, EO Nashville and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

• MTSU Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, Murfreesboro – The Jennings A. Jones College of Business offers a series of speakers, events and tours of local businesses connecting college students with local and regional entrepreneurs. GEW Entrepreneur Breakfast features two Skype interviews with Joanna Weidenmiller, CEO of One Page and Keri Kiblinger, vice president of development of 5 Horizons Group.

• Entrepreneur2Entrepreneur Speed Networking, Crossville – The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) and Cumberland Business Incubator will offer two speed networking events for entrepreneurs at Tennessee Tech University and Roane State.

West Tennessee

• Core Conversation on Entrepreneurship, Memphis – This event will bring together area entrepreneurs to discuss entrepreneurship over lunch. Each table will be hosted by a member of The Society of Entrepreneurs, and attendees will rotate tables between the entree and dessert for additional networking and conversation.

• Rising Star Business Appreciation Banquet, Dyersburg – This event honors small business owners and their supporters for their efforts in championing entrepreneurship. The TSBDC Rising Star award will be presented to a small business of the Northwest Tennessee area for its accomplishments in both sales growth and job creation.

• West Tennessee Veteran's Conference, Jackson – This conference focuses on veteran entrepreneurs and will provide general information on managing a small business and information on international exporting/importing regulations and certification. It will also offer information on marketing effectively with local, state and federal government contracts.

To learn more about Global Entrepreneurship Week activities in Tennessee, visit http://www.tn.gov/ecd/gew/.

About Global Entrepreneurship Week During one week each November, thousands of activities around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial action while connecting them to potential mentors, collaborators and investors. In three short years, Global Entrepreneurship Week has expanded to more than 100 countries—empowering nearly 20 million people through 95,000 activities. Powered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a growing network of 24,000 partner organizations. For more information, visit unleashingideas.org, and follow @unleashingideas on Twitter.

About Business Enterprise Resource Office
The Business Enterprise Resource Office (BERO) works to expand economic opportunities for small, rural, minority and women-owned businesses in Tennessee by providing information on procurement opportunities, loan programs and management programs with Tennessee private industry and government entities. BERO is an office within the Department of Economic and Community Development.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to create
higher skilled, better paying jobs for all Tennesseans. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. To find out more, go to www.tn.gov/ecd.