This article was published 12 years ago

Chattanooga, TN really wants your start-up and has lots of $$$$

Chattanooga TN Tennessee River Downtown Chattanooga
The Chief John Ross Bridge over the Tennessee River in Downtown Chattanooga, Tn. – Image credit: Pixabay / djgmix

If you hate your job and really wanted to fulfill that dream you stashed in the back of your mind, now is the greatest time to pursuit that dream as cities across the United States –  like New Orleans, Austin, Boston just to name a few – are rolling out the red carpet with easy access to investment capital, tax incentives and a vast network of human resources to help that dream of your become reality. Chattanooga, which is relatively new the incubator business, may have set the standard in luring people to the Tennessean city.

EPB, the publicly-owned utility that services Chattanooga and surrounding area including northern Georgia, became the first ISP in the United States to offer 1Gbps internet access for Chattanooga residents and businesses for $349.99/month, thus nicknaming the city “Gig City”.

Now the city wants to capitalize on extremely ridiculous speeds and get people to work and live in Chattanooga. When you hear about the prizes being offered to get people to Chattanooga, you might think the gigabit network got into their mindset.

Let’s start with the people that have a start-up. If you don’t mind living in Chattanooga for 14 weeks (Yes, WEEKS!) and your start-up wins:

  • $15,000 investment capital just for being selected
  • $100,000 grand prize
  • Access to a network of entrepreneurs, VCs and angel investors

While this does sound good, there is a catch if you read the 4th question in the FAQ section:

In return for our investment of both cash and mentoring, CO.STARTERS and our mentors collectively receive 7% of the founding level equity in your startup. Additionally, you will have the discretion to incentivize your mentors with an additional 3% of equity(more, or less, if you so choose). We recommend that some percentage be given to mentors, but again, this is your choice. Note that the cash investment may be spent any way the startups desire as long as it guides the Starters towards reaching milestones and the mentors “sign off” on the use of funds.

I haven’t participated in these investment competitions so I don’t know if this normal or not. If you have done these events, please leave a comment.

But what if your a student with an idea, they want you as well. If you’re get selected and can live in the city from June until August, you get:

  • Housing provided (not travel and food)
  • Access to a network of entrepreneurs, VCs and angel investors
  • $50,000 cash prize

While other cities may quip that they have the same thing, if not better, this is where Chattanooga have the best advantage. If you suggest someone enter the competition, they enter and get selected, you win $1,000.

$1,000 just for suggesting someone to go Chattanooga!!!

If this excites you and want to enter, take advantage of the leap day as tomorrow is the last day to register.

While this contest is exciting, I hope the fine folks in Chattanooga running this contest have some sense of reality and that while the hidden message is to get people to re-locate to Chattanooga; contestants will instead use those funds to move to Silicon Valley, where the real money is located.