By Clayta Richards
When starting a new business, there is no shortage of important factors to get right, and getting it right is what the UC Success Now program is all about. As an arm of the Cumberland Business Incubator (CBI), UC Success Now is busy getting the word out to the community regarding what they offer to entrepreneurs with startup businesses, existing businesses, inventors and others.
One of the major initiatives set in motion by Governor Bill Haslam's administration, as they began assessing how to develop jobs in Tennessee, was that entrepreneurship accounted for approximately 16 percent of all job creation in the state, and approximately 80 percent of job growth comes from existing businesses. They also found that surprisingly little help was available to the entrepreneurs.
"We're not so much about the 'mom and pop' businesses, as we are about businesses that will create jobs and increase wealth in the communities," stated Jeff Brown, accelerator director for the Upper Cumberland Region.
In response to this finding, Launch Tennessee was developed. Launch Tennessee is a five-year strategic plan to make Tennessee a national innovation leader. It is a public-private initiative of the Tennessee Department of Economic Development (TDEC) and Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (TTDC), which seeks to increase the formation of science and technology businesses expected to develop jobs and wealth in the region. Its five strategies in developing high-quality jobs include: prioritizing key clusters and existing businesses, establishing regional "jobs base camps," reducing business regulation, investing in innovation, and, ultimately, having Tennessee become number one in the Southeast for high-quality jobs.
CBI was formed to provide an inexpensive location for startup businesses and free advisement services. They opened their doors July 14, 2011, as a business development partnership between Roane State Community College, Tennessee Technological University (TTU), Tennessee Technology Center, Crossville/Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce, Cumberland County government, City of Crossville government and the Cumberland County School System. CBI, as well as UC Success Now, are housed on the Roane State campus at 2567 Cook Rd., in Crossville. CBI received one of nine regional grants from Launch Tennessee in January 2012, and that grant is the source of funding for UC Success Now. Brown was hired as accelerator director in late May of this year, and the program hit the ground running in June.
Brown has served as president of Crossville Rotary, president of the Crossville Association of Realtors, director of the Knoxville Association of Realtors, and director for the Crossville Housing Authority. He is the 8th District Cumberland County commissioner.
Brown holds a B.S. degree in geology from TTU, with a minor in business and finance. He is a resident of Crossville and is one of the founders of Prudential Southern Realty and Gold Service Insurance.
"Right now, I have three to four speaking engagements a week," said Brown. "I'd like that number to be 10 or 15, and I'll speak anywhere they'll let me." To schedule Brown for a speaking engagement for your group, call him at (931) 210-5105.
Working with a network of volunteers, UC Success Now offers a wide range of mentoring and other services to the entrepreneur, which will be discussed in an upcoming article.
"Whatever the field, the basics are the same," said Brown.
Tapping into this help begins with an interview process and then accomplishing certain goals set by mentors.
In addition to letting entrepreneurs know help is available for their business, the program is always looking for volunteers with special "been there" skills to help with mentoring. If you are interested in contacting UC Success Now as an entrepreneur or volunteer, call the office at (931) 210-5105, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information can be found on the website at www.UCSuccessNow.com.