One of the biggest things that’s struck me about the Gig Tank and Gig Tank’s demo day is how the entire city has come out to show their support. Last night we talked about how various businesses throughout downtown Chattanooga participated in the event by holding events.
We went to a reception at co.lab as well as CraftWorks headquarters. There were other events earlier in the day that we unfortunately missed.
This morning there was a bike ride organized, a tour of the Hunter Museum and a tour of the world famous aquarium here in Chattanooga. Chattanooga as a whole seems invested in the success of the entrepreneurs and students who’ve been hard at work the past three months in anticipation of the big day today.
Chattanooga is also invested in the gig itself. It’s exciting that 1 gb fiber is available everywhere in a 600 square mile radius. This morning we had the opportunity to have breakfast with Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger who admittedly isn’t a big “tech” guy but certainly understands the opportunities that come with the smart grid and the 1gb fiber.
The entire “gig” is part of his county. There are 340,000 folks in Hamilton County and of course the biggest part of that is the approx 170,000 people living in Chattanooga.
Coppinger is excited about where the “gig” goes for infrastructure, beyond running communications for power and water for residents and businesses. Coppinger is excited about what the gig will do for education in his county. Currently he has high schools with 500 students and on the other end of the spectrum, schools with 1500. Using remote teaching, relying on the back bone of the gig would mean that students county wide would have a consistent quality of education.
Mayor Coppinger, who served as Fire Chief before being elected Mayor, is also excited about what “The Gig” can do for public safety and first responders.
On the entrepreneurship side Mayor Coppinger is ecstatic about what’s happening with the Gig Tank along with the 60 companies being grown at a small business incubator on the north shore. That incubator has held 60 companies at a time and generally employs 300 per session.
Chattanooga’s support came out this morning when Four Bridges Capital and co.lab’s Charlie Brock pointed out this morning that the mentors for the GigTank entrepreneur’s track offered up a cumulative total of over 600 hours of mentorship during the three month session.
Mentor’s really got engaged with the entrepreneurs and the students as well and have provided more guidance than one would expect, which all lends itself to the buzz going on in Chattanooga surrounded by “the gig”
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