About The Innovation District

Where Chattanooga’s entrepreneurs, academics, and creatives collide. 

Events Calendar

Discover activities and events in the area.

Resiliency Checklist

Everything you need to prepare your organization for a crisis.

Small Business Supports

Helping small business owners across the region.

The Edney Innovation Center

The front door to the Innovation District of Chattanooga.

Tech Goes Home

Expanding access to technology and teaching digital literacy.

Digital Access Committee

Bringing together partners to close the digital divide, together.

HCS EdConnect

Home internet at no cost to thousands of families.

Connected Communities: Orchard Knob

The OKC leverages the collective support of partner organizations to tackle the whole picture of health and wellness in the historically underserved neighborhood.

Chattamatters

Answering the most basic and most complex questions about life in Chattanooga

EMPACT Program

Preparing residents for the jobs of tomorrow, and today. 

Chattanooga Smart Communities Collaborative

Working together to identify our region’s challenges and create solutions.

Environmental Sensors

Collecting and analyzing air quality data from across our region with US Ignite.

Education (4K Microscope & Lola)

High-tech tools in Hamilton County’s classrooms.

Community Connectivity

Expanding access to the internet in homes and neighborhoods.

Q&A: Looking back on a year of service with Mateo Jimenez

The Enterprise Center. Photography by @DanHenryPhoto / www.danhenryphoto.com

Mateo Jimenez is a local student who served as a Lead for America American Connection Corps AmeriCorps Fellow with The Enterprise Center and Thrive Regional Partnership through the summer of 2023. He is a senior at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology.

As a Guatemalan-American, he is also a current nominee for the 2023 Emerging Leader Award in La Paz’s Annual Latino Leadership Awards.

 

You’ve had a busy year throughout your fellowship! What is the thing you’re most proud of, throughout your time here?

I’m proud of the Affordable Connectivity Program Outreach conducted throughout my service.

The importance of affordable internet and being connected cannot be overstated in our society. Access to affordable internet and the ability to stay connected empowers individuals, families, communities, and economies by enabling access to information, education, healthcare, job opportunities, and social interactions. The Internet promotes inclusivity, ensuring that no one is left behind. Because of this, I believe that free / low-cost internet is a fundamental right that guides progress and enhances the quality of life for people everywhere.

 

As a former Hamilton County Schools student, your family personally experienced the benefits of no-cost, in-home wifi through HCS EdConnect (powered by EPB). Can you talk about what it’s been like now, as a college senior, to be able to give back and help others connect to programs that helped you get to where you are today?

Being able to extend this valuable program to others in my community feels incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. It’s an incredible opportunity to bridge the digital divide and provide equal access to resources for those who might not have had the privilege before … the fact that this program has already reached over 28,000 individuals is a testament to the collective effort to make a difference in Hamilton County. This program has brought our community closer together, reinforcing the idea that collaboration and support can create great change.

 

What do you want other Chattanoogans to know about the digital inclusion work happening across our region?

I want them to know that getting connected and staying connected is possible through the network of partnerships in this area. There are still others we need to reach, too. It’s a community effort. Together, we carry this spirit forward and continue to tell stories of impact, growth, and unity. 

 

In retrospect, was there an obstacle you faced and overcame that you’d like to share?

While I had ambitious plans for my fellowship service, I quickly realized that to get from where you are to where you want your project to be requires patience, resources, and funding. [This] taught me valuable lessons about prioritization, resource management, and the importance of being flexible in the face of constraints. Despite this challenge, this experience ultimately strengthened my project management skills and reinforced the idea that determination can lead to meaningful outcomes … It also taught me to persevere … and reinforced the idea that obstacles are an integral part of any meaningful journey and making a positive impact.

 

What would today’s Mateo like to tell your younger self from 2022?

Take a moment to appreciate your achievements. There is nothing wrong with sharing or embracing your achievements. It is easy to rush ahead without acknowledging how far you’ve come. Celebrate both the big victories and the small wins – they’re all steps forward! … You are going to have the best peers ever! Cultivate those connections, because they’ll be your anchor during tough times and your greatest source of joy.

Join us for a broadband access & skills conference July 22-23:

We’re thrilled to host the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s 2024 Digital Opportunity Summit — and equally thrilled to invite you a day early, to dig into Chattanooga and Hamilton County’s digital opportunity story …