Request for Information: Jobs4TN Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerator

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development INCITE Initiative


Governor Bill Haslam announced the Jobs4TN plan in April 2011 to accomplish his goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.  As the state’s primary economic development agency, the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) has been charged by the Governor with overseeing the successful implementation of the plan.  Jobs4TN is a comprehensive plan built around four strategies, one of which is investing in innovation. The Department’s primary innovation effort is the INCITE Initiative, which stands for INnovation, Commercialization, Investment, Technology and Entrepreneurship.  INCITE’s goal is to elevate Tennessee’s profile in innovation-based economic development and drive economic growth via the creation of knowledge-based jobs.  As part of INCITE, the Department will be overseeing a competitive grant process to provide funding to an entrepreneurial business accelerator in each of the state’s nine “Jobs Base Camp” regions, as defined in the Jobs4TN plan.  The goal of the business accelerators is to nurture and support entrepreneurs as they develop business plans and launch companies that have the potential to create a large number of high-wage jobs.  Prior to issuing this grant application, the Department is issuing this request for information (RFI) to gather information that will inform the grant process.


The Department of Economic and Community Development requests information on the following questions:

1. How should the success of a business accelerator be measured after one, two, and three years?

2. What are best practices in recruiting, training, and supporting entrepreneurs as they go through a business accelerator program?

3. What partnerships should a successful business accelerator form (e.g., with businesses, investors, governments, educational institutions)?

4. How should a business accelerator be governed?

5. Over what time period and using what strategies should a business accelerator be expected to become financially self-sustaining?

6. How, if at all, do successful business accelerators in rural areas differ from successful business accelerators in urban areas?

7. How should the grant applications for the regional business accelerators be scored?  What individuals should be part of the scoring process?

8. Please provide any additional advice you have that might inform the State’s competitive grant process for regional business accelerators.

Responses must be received on or before July 15, 2011.


Responses must be submitted in written format via mail or email to:

Ryan Gooch, Innovation Director

Tennessee Tower, 11th Floor

312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue Nashville, TN 37243

Office: (615) 741-1294

Twitter: @investtennessee

Responses to this RFI are not considered to be offers and cannot be accepted by the State of Tennessee to form a binding contract or issue a grant.  Information obtained as a result of this RFI may be used by the State toward program planning on a non-attribution basis.  Do not include any information that may be considered proprietary or confidential