Slide1SXSW® Startup Village®  to Highlight Entrepreneurship in Tennessee & The Delta Region: Southern Entrepreneurship Takes Root


Slide02SXSW® Startup Village® launched at the 2012 SXSW Interactive Festival and consolidates all of the entrepreneur-related Interactive programming into one venue, the Hilton Downtown Austin immediately across the street from the Austin Convention Center.

In Startup Village®, you’ll find panel sessions covering topics like startup funding, startup ecosystems, and entrepreneurial best practices. This year, Startup Village® features a special panel entitled “Southern Entrepreneurship Takes Root” addressing entrepreneurial activities in the Deep South.  The speakers for this panel were carefully selected by Bill Hulsey, Principal, HULSEY HUNT & PARKS PC who has watched and participated in the renaissance of exciting entrepreneurial activities across the region for the past twenty years.

The future of small business below the Mason Dixon line is getting Slide3brighter and increasingly robust. Organizations such as the Delta Regional Authority, Memphis’ Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center (EPICenter) and StartCo, Inc., and Nashville’s Entrepreneurs Center are changing the economic landscapes in the Deep South.

With miles of greenery and beautiful farms and mansions dotting the highways, many cities in this region exude natural beauty that adds to the overall high quality of life. Today, there is more to be seen behind the region’s Southern charm than in years past: a thriving ecosystem of startups, robust fiber-optic networks and proximity to strong public and private universities and colleges.

Moderator: Eric Mathews, Co-Founder, StartCo. Since 2011, Start Co. portfolio companies have raised over $12.3M in funding, and graduates from our accelerators leave with the skills, confidence, and traction they need to take their companies to the next level.

Panelist: Ms. Katie Milligan, Entrepreneurship Programs, The Delta Regional Authority. The Delta Regional Authority works to improve regional economic opportunity by helping to create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of the 10 million people who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region of the Mississippi River. The Delta Entrepreneurship Network is a competitive fellowship program to identify entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship support organizations in the Delta region, nurture entrepreneurial talent, and grow those entrepreneurs into talented, innovative drivers of the Delta’s local and regional economies.

Panelist: Ms. Leslie Lynn Smith, President, EPIcenter: Memphis’ Entrepreneurship-Powered Innovation Center (EPIcenter) is a collaborative and community-wide strategic initiative that is helping entrepreneurs conceive, launch and scale businesses in the Memphis region.  EPIcenter serves as a central point of contact for the region’s ecosystem and coordinates resources from various organizations in the community such as accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, networking programs, and technical assistance programs for entrepreneurs.  EPIcenter also represents the complete picture of the region’s entrepreneurial activity and resources in high-growth, scalable startups and businesses.

Panelist: Mr. Blake Hogan, Director of Business Partnerships, The Nashville Entrepreneurs Center. The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) fosters innovation and entrepreneurship by turning ideas into investable businesses. As a non-profit 501c(3) organization, the EC is funded through sponsorships, partnerships, donations and grants and relies on support from leading corporations, successful entrepreneurs and others with a vested interest in the EC’s success. EC runs focused startup cohorts throughout the year to drastically accelerate the launch or development of a business by combing educational programming, one-on-one mentoring, and startup networking in a timed program.

To learn more about what is happening in Tennesee and southern entrepreneurship, watch the following video: