Our mission is to empower communities and individuals through entrepreneurship.
Our vision is for a community that builds hope and equity for all individuals through entrepreneurship. LAUNCH exists to build a thriving Chattanooga where every individual who dreams of a business can be confident that the community will stand with them, removing obstacles and creating opportunities for their success.
HOW IT WORKS
LAUNCH exists to equip populations that are typically underrepresented in entrepreneurshipwomen, minorities and residents of low-income communities - with the tools needed for economic viability, self-sufficiency, and generational wealth-building through small business development. The LAUNCH CHA Academy is a 10-week program for adults that equips participants with the financial literacy and tools needed for a successful business startup. The LAUNCH CHA Academy is a relational, community-building experience where participants walk through the process of starting a business, from discovering and refining an idea, to analyzing the customer and competition, to making financial projections. The classes take place weekly for 10 weeks and are each led by a facilitator who is a past graduate of the program. In this program, entrepreneurs are equipped with the knowledge needed for a successful business start up, or may learn that a pivot is needed. Each week, participants are introduced to business leaders in the community who serve as guest speakers, and are able to learn real-world practices and increase their social capital. Through the process, the entrepreneurs develop friendships, tap into new networks, practice public speaking, and have the opportunity to turn their idea into reality.
In 2010, a group of local businessmen were moved by the negative impact of the recession on those in poverty and were inspired to call on individuals, churches, and businesses to use their collective experience to provide support to underserved entrepreneurs. Their goal was to focus on communities of high unemployment, empower individuals by fostering an entrepreneurial spirit, and encourage job creation by building small businesses and putting people in a position to succeed. With this goal and backing from the community, LAUNCH was born.
LAUNCH’s first class, the Business Entrepreneurship Academy, began in April 2011. In 2012, LAUNCH expanded into two additional areas of the city and began outreach to a younger generation of entrepreneurs by partnering with The Howard School to create the High School Entrepreneurship Program. Over the ensuing 10 years, LAUNCH has conducted classes in Alton Park, Hill City, East Chattanooga, Brainerd, the Downtown area, and most recently, online.
• Inception of LAUNCH: training & support for underrepresented entrepreneurs and a temporary jobs training program
• Worked with Mason West and the Talented Tenth Program to begin High School Program at Howard High School
• Added class location in East Chattanooga in partnership with Glass House Collective and Hope for the Inner City
• High School Program expands to include Tyner Academy
• Added class location in Hill City at Northside Neighborhood House
• High School Program expands to include Brainerd High School
• Added class location in Brainerd at the Tennessee Career Center
• High School Program expands to include Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy
• Began national expansion by creating Start Spark network to support the beginning of Spring GR in Grand Rapids, Michigan
• Added class location in East Chattanooga at Hope for the Inner City
• High School Program expands to include East Ridge High School, STEM School, and Red Bank High School
• LAUNCH moves into the Chattanooga Workspace building
• Added class location Downtown at the Chattanooga Workspace
• Created new high school curriculum, LAUNCHing Bright Ideas
• Created LAUNCH 2.0 Program to focus on marketing, finance and operations for businesses that had already started
• High School Program expands to include Central High School
• Added Highway 58 class location at the Mt. Canaan Baptist Church
• LAUNCH moves into the Business Development Center and becomes a service provider
• Implement Tech Goes Home program for entrepreneurs
• Partner with Launch Tennessee to bring LAUNCHing Bright Ideas to high schools across the state
• Added class location in Highland Park in partnership with La Paz
• LAUNCH creates new Startup Award - LAUNCH Microbusiness of the Year Award
• Open Kitchen Incubator of Chattanooga (KIC) in Brainerd area
• Create LAUNCH Provisions Project (LPP) and provided 50,000 meals for at-risk seniors during the COVID crisis
• Began Virtual Classes
• Created new curriculum: The startup Matrix
Read Full LAUNCH 10 Year Impact Summary