Business and Technology in Tennessee - Ep 2 Engaging Entrepreneurs with Co.Lab

Collide, connect, collaborate, and create.

That's the motto for Chattanooga's Innovation District, nestled within the heart of downtown, and making it the first mid-sized city with an established area designed for innovation. At the corner of Market and 11th sits the Edney Innovation Center - a connection point, support base, and catalyst for the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem that has come to Tennessee.

Sitting prominently on the first floor of this innovative center is The Company Lab, also known as Co.Lab. Co.Lab is front and center for both local and regional entrepreneurs in Tennessee, helping them refine their business models, test their ideas, attract capital, and connect with the large community of mentors, business experts, and businesses as a whole. Co.Lab Executive Director, Marcus Shaw, sees the ability and benefits these startups can have when understanding the intersect of business and technology, especially in how it can affect their business growth.

After years of being within the tech industry, Marcus knows the important ins and outs that companies face when needing to purchase or upgrade equipment; this need for understanding the inner workings between business decisions and technology implementation is what lead Marcus to a role within business development for a number of non-profits, eventually leading him to Co.Lab.

In emerging startups, many entrepreneurs may not count the presence of technology past the first computer that will run their various Cloud-based applications. This poses potential challenges for businesses when they first encounter the need for larger-scale infrastructure to store their data, power applications, and support connected devices. As large corporations know, these operating costs and expenditures can increase budget restraints, something that a startup could ignore and be blindsided with down the road.

For Marcus and the Co.Lab, education is the key for helping startups understand this crucial step as part of their planning and process. This is where Tennessee companies, especially tech companies within and around the city, can provide support, information, and even clarity on how to approach technology for their own business.

In the latest episode of Business and Technology in Tennessee, InfoSystems Marketing Director, Josh Davis, sat down with Marcus to discuss how successful IT companies like InfoSystems can educate and assist entrepreneurs, and also how the next generation of innovators has changed how we think about and use technology.

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