tall chamber photoBy the Knoxville Chamber, Founding Member

The Innov865 Alliance develops, supports, and promotes the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Since the Alliance’s inception, the Knoxville Chamber has been proud to help celebrate and showcase Knoxville as a great place for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses and increase access to capital. 

Closing the gap

As a part of the Innov865 Alliance, the Chamber is actively working to help close the access to capital gap in Knoxville. The Regional Enhancement team is identifying where the continuum gaps are so they can  properly address these gaps, grow the number of investors in the region, and connect existing investors with startups. This year, in partnership with Innov865 and the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, we held a series of panel discussions – Opportunities on the Horizon – specifically geared at increasing angel investors.

The Institute for the Future estimates that up to 85 percent of the jobs that will be available in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. We are looking to equip ventures within specific industries that we believe will drive the future of prosperity in our region.

Sharing resources

The Chamber is uniquely positioned to succeed in helping close the access to capital gap. Our mission focuses on six key areas: business expansion, business attraction, business climate, infrastructure, talent and entrepreneurship/small business. Our business expansion services include growth facilitation, problem solving, incentive navigation and more

Our attraction team continues to work to bring in innovative, high-paying jobs to our area. Business climate efforts include keeping the business community informed and advocating for them on the local and state level. Our infrastructure, talent and entrepreneurship/small business efforts each have their own multi-year strategy. We are in the process of creating and implementing tactics in support of the recommendations outlined in those strategies.

We believe that all residents deserve an equitable opportunity to be prosperous, not just those that invest in the Chamber. Availability of jobs, entrepreneurial opportunities and a high quality of life contribute to this goal.

Promoting partnerships

Everyone can play a role in helping to develop, support and promote the Knoxville region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

We released Capital Access Redefined, our strategy in this area, August 2021. The report highlights four recommendations:

  1. Increase opportunities for businesses seeking less than $50,000 in capital 
  2. Expand and strengthen entrepreneurship and small business education, training, and services
  3. Expand the availability of angel, private equity, and venture capital funding
  4. Drive greater awareness of the region’s entrepreneurial entities with internal and external capital providers

We need partners that are focused on improving access to capital for all the region’s business builders as part of a phased long-term strategic process to restore the cycle of investment in entrepreneurs. 

Expanding Knoxville’s population

Growth is good. And necessary, at this point. As other outlets have covered, we have been sounding the alarm on our population growth – or lack of – for some time. 

Our objectives are twofold: It is imperative that we grow the 25-to-54-year-old age demographic, and we must attract companies that can increase the average mean salary in the area to have real economic impact. This will require the focus of all six key areas, as the growth must be supported by policy, infrastructure, workforce and the ability to expand further.

Showcasing our entrepreneurial spirit

Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit gives the city a competitive advantage. As both people and businesses look for a place to call home, the ability to showcase the supportive environment and constant innovation is paramount to the success of Knoxville’s economic prosperity. 

We are looking for businesses to recognize the work that needs to be done to prepare our region for future success and invest in that work. 

To further showcase Knoxville’s entrepreneurial spirit, the Chamber is proud to help sponsor Innov865 Week each year. The week-long event is a valuable opportunity for Knoxville to highlight entrepreneurial activity and support local economic development – from investors and regional entrepreneurs to community leaders and students. Stay tuned for future updates about the Alliance’s annual celebration of Knoxville’s rich tradition of innovation! 

About the Knoxville Chamber

The Knoxville Chamber is an economic prosperity organization located in Knoxville, Tennessee. The organization is committed to its mission of driving regional economic prosperity. The organization is a Founding Member of the Innov865 Alliance. Learn more about the Chamber.