Innovation districts are becoming increasingly popular as they emerge in cities all over the world. Even the name “innovation district” is a new buzzword on the lips of city leaders, creative thinkers, and entrepreneurs.
Innovation districts are dense, walkable urban cores packed with tech startups, entertainment hotspots, researchers and students, affordable housing, and popular eateries—basically everything you need to live, work, and play all in one place. These are economic epicenters, and they are revitalizing their cities’ economies from the inside out.
But how exactly does Chattanooga fit in with all this hype?
Chattanooga was the very first mid-sized city to have the resources for an Innovation District, and remains one of the few cities of its size to have such an incredible innovation economy.
Most innovation districts are built around unique anchor institutions, for example research universities or large businesses, that encourage growth in both the population and the economy. And while Chattanooga doesn’t exactly have MIT, which anchors Cambridge’s innovation district, or Google, the anchor of Silicon Valley, our Innovation District is uniquely situated to incorporate multiple amazing anchors: the Electric Power Board (EPB), the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga (UTC), the The Edney Innovation Center, and Lamp Post Group, among others.
EPB’s smart grid technology and fiber optic network have given Chattanooga the fastest internet in the country (10 gigs!), making us a prime testbed for new technological advances, applications and development, and tons of tech startups!
UTC is emerging as a research partner, working tirelessly with other anchor institutions to develop and test numerous applications for “the gig” and our fiber optic network. Additionally, in the future, UTC will become a funnel providing a workforce of educated researchers, starters, and creative thinkers into the businesses fueling the Innovation District.
The Edney Innovation Center is the front door of Chattanooga’s Innovation District. This 10-story building is filled with innovative, open offices, coworking and event spaces, accelerator programs and workshops, tech startups, and business incubators, such as The Company Lab, which is housed on Floor One. The Edney is the entrepreneurial epicenter of Chattanooga, a networking place and support base for creative thinkers, starters, and doers. No matter which rung of the entrepreneurial ladder you are on, The Edney Innovation Center has the resources you need—from start to finish!
Lamp Post Group (LPG) is a one-stop shop venture incubator, providing both capital and mentorship to growing startups. LPG’s goals are to encourage fast, independent growth for new companies, ideas, and ventures, and to provide resources and talent for every conceivable community need. LPG’s latest project has been the creation and launch of The Tomorrow Building, affordable, micro-living apartment units in the heart of the Innovation District.