Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Chattanooga, TN


Chattanooga,TN, known as the “Gig City” ranks number 4 in the country as a top city and entrepreneurial ecosystem for startups. (source – wallethub, April 2015)

Chattanooga, once known as one of America’s dirtiest cities, has built a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. It is the first city in the western hemisphere to have gigabit-speed internet service and has re-branded itself as the “Gig City”. Based on an April, 2015 ranking by WalletHub, a personal-finance social network, the “Gig City” ranks number 4 in the country as a top city for startups, and was rated number 2 for access to resources.
For further information see “The Best and Worst Cities to Launch a Business” in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Based on this ranking, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up the “Gig City” entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

  • 1st Tuesday Lunch, Learn and Lead
    A once a month meetup for CEOs, business owners, and Presidents enabling the networking and building of relationships with other top business leaders in the Chattanooga community.
  • 1 Million Cups Chattanooga: Entrepreneurs Mornings
    A weekly meetup of entrepreneurs with businesses in the Chattanooga area. Startup entrepreneurs are provided an opportunity to present their businesses and participate in follow up Q & A.
  • Chattanooga Female Founders
    A meetup of female founders seeking to network and grow their businesses and those of other women entrepreneurs.
  • Chattanooga Home-based Business Women
    A meetup group of female business owners and consultants which meets periodically to promote networking, idea swapping and inspiration to women who work businesses from out of their homes.
  • Chattanooga SEO & Internet
    A meetup of Chattanooga based SEO professionals who are interested in SEM techniques and other general issues related to internet marketing, web design and social media.
  • Nooga Networking
    A meetup group for anyone interested in growing their sales and gaining sales tools and tips.
  • Noisemakers
    A meetup group with a focus on bringing people invested in music, film, and tech in the Chattanooga area together.
  • WOWW! Womem of Wealth & Worth
    A Chattanooga meetup group for women who have their own business and desire support and networking with other women who share their dreams.

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

  • 24 Hour Generator
    A CO.LAB event designed to inspire high school girls to develop the vision, enthusiasm and tenacity to become an entrepreneur.
  • Business Entrepreneur Academy
    A 10 week course for adults who have recently started a business or are interested in doing so.
  • Chamblis Startup Social
    A periodic startup seminar series sponsored by the Chamblis Startup Group.
  • Launch Kinect
    An annual entrepreneurial program focused on providing fun, entrepreneurship and networking for urban teens.
  • Start It Up
    A weekly radio show dedicated to Chattanooga’s startup community.

Startup Competitions:

  • 48 Hour Launch Chattanooga
    A CO.LAB sponsored weekend long business startup experience designed to inspire entrepreneurialism in the local community.
  • Startup Week Chattanooga
    Chattanooga’s Startup Week event which takes place in the fall in concert with other Startup Weekends around the country and globe.
  • Will This Float?
    An annual business pitch competition sponsored by CO.LAB, which showcases up and coming area startup ideas.

Co-working Space:


  • Chatt*lab
    Describes themselves as “a maker/hacker/whatever space and community workshop.”


  • INCubator Business Development Center
    The largest business incubator in the state of Tennessee and third largest in the United States.
  • Lamp Post Group
    A venture incubator that provides startup capital and mentoring support to growth oriented startups. Their support services include legal, accounting, HR, recruiting and office space.

Incubators vs Accelerators: Which will best fit your needs?


  • CO.LAB Accelerator
    A startup accelerator with a focus on supporting entrepreneurial growth in southeast Tennessee.
  • GIGTank
    “boutique” accelerator for seed stage startups developing ultra high-bandwidth business applications.

Angel Groups / VCs:

  • Blank Slate Ventures
    A seed stage investment fund established specifically to fund pre-revenue startups in and around Chattanooga, TN. They seek to invest in teams of entrepreneurs who are building companies with the potential to disrupt their respective industries.
  • Chattanooga Renaissance Fund
    A fund which invests in seed and early stage companies with strong growth potential. They seek companies with strong entrepreneurial teams with a continuing desire to engage, post investment.
  • The Jump Fund
    An angel investment fund which invests in female led companies with strong growth potential. They desire to generate strong financial returns and to elevate the role of women in business.
  • The Lamp Post Group
    A venture incubator that provides startup capital and mentoring support to growth oriented startups. Their support services include legal, accounting, HR, recruiting and office space.
  • River Associates Investments
    Chattanooga based private equity firm which is focused on the lower middle market.

Angel Investor Startup Search Tool.

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

    A web based new service with a focus on spotlighting and celebrating all things related to technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in East Tennessee.
  • Venture Tennessee Connections
    An online entrepreneurial and business news service with a focus on related activities in the state of Tennessee and surrounding areas.

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Chattanooga not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in other Southeastern US Cities in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight?

Augusta, GeorgiaGreensboro, North Carolina,Memphis, Tennessee 


Alexa Cleek