City of Chattanooga boosts innovation in Tennessee with summer incubator

By February 23, 2012
Keywords : Smart city, America
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Chattanooga « Gig city » in Tennessee provides the fastest Internet connection in the world. City leaders, along with multiple investors, built up an original campaign to boost entrepreneurship and attract web entrepreneurs.


There is no such thing as fatality. Fourty years ago, Chattanooga in Tennessee was voted the dirtiest town of the USA. Today it is the first cityin the western hemisphere to offer 1 Gigabit per second fiber Internet services to all of its residents and businesses, even before USA high-tech hubs like San Francisco or even Seattle. Tennessee’s fourth largest city wants to build up its high-tech image through a witty communication campaign promoting its exceptional fiber optic network. Indeed, Chattanooga organizes a US-wide competition targeting both entrepreneurs and high-skilled students on the following theme: What could you do with the world’s fastest Internet?

The Gig Tank: Boost entrepreneurship

Chattanooga launches a competition called the Gig Tank through the summer 2012. The goal is to boost entrepreneurship in the city, by asking startups to come up with innovative ways of using and taking advantage of the town’s amazing Internet speed. The project consists of an incubator and a think tank. The incubator will award the entrepreneurial team with the best project a 100,000$ prize to launch its business. High-skilled university students will also spend the summer in Chattanooga to be part of the think tank. The one proposing the best answer to the town’s problematic will receive 50, 000$. The Gig Tank is funded by the city and by private firms such as Alcatel Lucent. The objective of such a public-private partnership is to create jobs, capitalize on Chattanooga Internet service, spur innovative ideas and implement them in the Chattanooga market.

The Gig Hunt: Find the right talents

The city developed a crowdsourcing campaign to attract talents to participate in their competition. Basically, people get rewarded in cash for recommending good potential participants to the Gig Tank. The town launched the so-called Gig Hunt, which encourages people to recommend “geeks” in their own network who they judge would be the best contenders for the Gig Tank. Users “tag” the “geek” friends they want to recommend for the Gig Tank. To do so, people only need to mention or “tag” their friends in a Facebook or Twitter post mentioning the Gig Hunt. Those who will tag the finally selected geeks will be rewarded a check of 1,000 $. Leveraging crowdsourcing and rewarding participation contributes to making a buzz around the Gig Tank competition while hopefully helping to attract the very best talents to the Chattanooga.



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