Entrepreneurial Landscape in Memphis

by Cheryl Hayes

The entrepreneurial scene in Memphis is very bright for anyone seeking to start a business, especially for entrepreneurs in the bioscience, logistics, andmedical device fields. The market in Memphis is open to the “next big thing”. According this article, “between 2009 and early 2014, the city’s top business accelerators have helped 181 startups that created 532 jobs and attracted $50 million from investors.”

Memphis offers many outlets to assist with startup ideas. One of the most influential is Start Co. Start Co. provides programs such as 48-hour launch events, hackathons,  Start Co. Lounge happy hours, social innovators workshops, startup weekends and other resources to help entrepreneurs with their  ideas, including launching, empowering, mentoring and investing.

An accelerator program operated and supported by Start Co., Seed Hatchery is a nonprofit startup assistance program that focuses on web and tech startups by offering a 90-day mentoring program. It has launched 18 companies since its inaugural cohort in 2011. Through this accelerator program, entrepreneurs are able to apply for a chance to be selected for startup funding.  Additional startup accelerator programs to assist entrepreneurs in Memphis are UpStart Memphis, a nonprofit program geared towards women entrepreneurs; Sky High, which focuses on logistics technology startups; SparkGap, which offers startups assistance in social enterprise; ZeroTo510, which assists in the area of medical device research and manufacturing.

Innovation and entrepreneurship assistance for faculty and students can be found at The University of Memphis Crews Center for Entrepreneurship.

Others of interest to startups are Innova,  a pre-seed, seed and early-stage investor; Liquid Capital, offering innovative financial solutions for businesses seeking cash and capital; Angel Capital, which brings investors and entrepreneurs together; and Emerge Memphis, which provides strategic support to startup companies, innovators and entrepreneurs in the Mid-South.

The City of Memphis offers Memphians a one-stop-shop resource called the Renaissance Business Center. It lists several central points for those interested in seeking financial resources from public and private entities.

The Small Business Administration provides government funding assistance.. Score Memphis its nonprofit resource partner, and it provides free counseling and low-cost workshops.

An array of startups were founded in Memphis. A few include:

MentorMe Inc. -a nonprofit startup founded by Brittany Fitzpatrick that is revolutionizing the way communities invest in people with SaaS platform for mentoring.

Screwpulp – an ebook marketplace that gives authors a better way to reach an audience.

Global Innovations Now, Inc. – this startup enables business owners by providing customer mobile app solutions.

Keep It 200 – a social network connecting communities around important issues in the world.

Paytopia  – an alternative payment system that offers customers a safe way to pay online.

More Memphis startups can be found here.

The entrepreneurial landscape for Memphis is booming and wide-open for new entrants. The help entrepreneurs need is available in Memphis.

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