Top 10 Takeaways from “Little Town, Layered Ecosystem: A Case Study of Chattanooga”

Posted by on Apr 14, 2016 in Update!

Our Chambliss Startup Group thrives on supporting entrepreneurs and not just with legal counsel. Our team believes in the entrepreneurial movement happening in Chattanooga, and we’re making a point to be a part of it, whether it’s by offering networking opportunities, developing a sense of community, or being a resource. But we’re not the only ones. There are a handful of solid supporters that have played a key role in this movement, and people are noticing. For example, this billion-dollar private, nonpartisan foundation recently put us on their map.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation recently released the report “Little Town, Layered Ecosystem: A Case Study of Chattanooga,” which details the entrepreneurial support system in our hometown. The Kauffman Foundation is based in Kansas City, Missouri. The report is just one part of the Kauffman Foundation Research Series on City, Metro, and Regional Entrepreneurship. Other cities featured include Kansas City, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.

If you haven’t read the report, it’s definitely worth taking a look. For those of you crunched for time, here are our top 10 takeaways:



1. The Chattanooga entrepreneurial ecosystem has 3 layers:

  • philanthropic foundations

  • direct entrepreneurship support organizations

  • organizations in the public sector, including Mayor Berke’s office

2. Gig – the big spark. The Gig – Chattanooga’s (first in the nation) one-gigabit fiber internet service provided by EPB – got things moving and shaking among city leaders, entrepreneurs, and support organizations.


“Now everybody says, ‘We have to stay first, we have to do something’…”


3. Two local foundations are major players in not just the entrepreneurial ecosystem, but also in Chattanooga’s general development: Lyndhurst Foundation and Benwood Foundation.


4. The 5 main entrepreneurial support organizations are:

5. Let’s not forget EPB.


“Since the launch of the Gig, EPB estimates that ninety-one companies have been founded in Chattanooga, with approximately $50 million in venture capital provided from six firms.”


6. Where’s the best place in the ecosystem? The Innovation District. Shout out to the Enterprise Center located in the Edney Building at the heart of the district.

Credit: Little Town, Layered Ecosystem: A Case Study of Chattanooga

Credit: Little Town, Layered Ecosystem: A Case Study of Chattanooga

 7. Mayor Berke played a huge role in bringing the right people together. 


He not only exercises “his support through his official powers,” but he is also
one of the biggest “cheerleaders” for the entrepreneurial community.


8. It doesn’t hurt that Chattanooga is an “attractive and affordable place to live.” Entrepreneurs migrating to our town enjoy it!

9. Chattanooga is just one example of how local assets can be utilized for the “betterment of a city ecosystem.”


“There are untapped and perhaps unexpected sources of entrepreneurship in every place.”


10. If you’re still not getting the ecosystem concept, a picture’s worth a thousand words.

Credit: Little Town, Layered Ecosystem: A Case Study of Chattanooga

Credit: Little Town, Layered Ecosystem: A Case Study of Chattanooga


This is just a tiny snapshot of the report, and we encourage you to take a look. It’s inspiring to see all the different organizations, firms, entities, individuals, and believers involved in making our hometown entrepreneurial ecosystem work for the betterment of the city.