The Greater Memphis Chamber‚Äôs Chairman‚Äôs Circle is aiming to create 500 companies and 1,000 entrepreneurs over the next 10 years through the Memphis Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center (EPIcenter).
The Chamber‚Äôs Chairman‚Äôs Circle is a group of 100 business leaders who have committed to making Memphis great through five ‚Äúmoon missions.‚Äù One of these missions is the goal of creating 1,000 entrepreneurs in 10 years.
They benchmarked Memphis against other successful locations, and determined that the kind of success they were aiming for requires a concerted effort and common strategy to be adopted by all the organizations serving the region‚Äôs startups.
This is what the EPIcenter aims to be, as the single front door and point of accountability for entrepreneurs in Memphis.
The center will assist any entrepreneur who wants to start a business, but will focus on sectors where Memphis is already strong, including logistics, healthcare and bioscience, and the information and software technology that enables these sectors.
The EPIcenter will be working directly with companies through existing incubator, capital and accelerator programs. The center will also work in conjunction with the Shelby County and Memphis Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE), which was created in 2011 to streamline and manage economic development programs.
David Waddell, president, CEO and CIO of Waddell & Associates, Inc. and chair of the Chairman‚Äôs Circle entrepreneurship committee, said the EPIcenter will impact everyone in the region significantly.
Waddell said that creating 500 scalable high-growth companies in the Memphis economy‚Äôs key sectors will eventually produce an economic impact of $600 million and at least 4,500 new jobs.
The Memphis Bioworks Foundation has been chosen to lead the EPIcenter, based on their strong record of supporting and nurturing entrepreneurship. Since 2009, Bioworks and Innova have together supported 200 entrepreneurs and formed 60 companies while managing $53 million in equity investments.
Steven Bares, PhD, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks, said they are proud to step forward and own this responsibility.
Bares said that having partnered with virtually every organization in the region focused on incubation, acceleration and commercialization, they have a great sense of the region‚Äôs innovative strengths and feel confident that there is enough business and development going on to keep everyone busy for years to come.