Innovation Summit to be held at Arnold AFB

  • Published
  • By Bradley Hicks
  • AEDC Public Affairs

A pair of upcoming events are designed to provide those with entrepreneurial interests a plethora of information related to small businesses.

These events, being collectively referred to as the 2TN Business & Workforce Innovation Summit, will take place on May 8 and May 10 at the Gossick Leadership Conference Center on Arnold Air Force Base, headquarters of Arnold Engineering Development Complex. The May 8 event will focus on small business essentials, while the May 10 event will feature a “mix and mingle” for prospective small business owners to have their questions answered by and connect with economic development officials and established proprietors.

The summit is sponsored by the Economic Recovery Corps in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, International Economic Development Council, Tennessee Small Business Development Center headquartered at Middle Tennessee State University and Think Tullahoma.

There is no charge and no registration required to attend either the May 8 or the May 10 event.

The goals of the first-ever summit are to promote increased commerce and economic development and to support the National Defense Strategy by cultivating a stable and sustainable workforce.

These events are designed to provide small business entrepreneurs technical support for starting a business, especially ones that would serve government.

2TN, otherwise referred to as Second to None, is a term intended to describe the commitment of the local Chambers of Commerce, the Tullahoma Area Economic Development Corporation and AEDC to achieve these goals. AEDC is a participant but not a primary organizer of the summit.

The May 8 event, titled “Small Business Essentials,” is geared toward small business owners and is intended to give attendees an overview of innovation and how it drives new technology. They will also receive information on how to do business with the government and government contracting, as well as learn about the basics of starting a business and how to find capital or loans.

The event will feature of presentation from 9-10 a.m. on the AEDC Spark Tank, a program which allows AEDC employees to propose suggestions for improving AEDC processes, products and test capabilities. The acoustic imager, which received AEDC Innovation Grant funding during the 2023 AEDC Spark Tank program, will be highlighted. This device is used to identify leaks in compressed air, gas and vacuum systems. It also reveals the locations of electrical partial discharge which, if left unchecked, could result in system failure and power loss and potentially pose a safety hazard. The imager project placed in the top three in the 2023 Air Force Materiel Command Spark Tank Integrated Capabilities Challenge.

From 10 a.m. to noon, information on how to do business with AEDC will be presented, during which information on how prospective business owners can get started with government contracting will be provided.

From 1-3:30 p.m., the TN SBDC will present a program titled “So you want to start a business?,” “Intro to Entrepreneurial Marketing” and “Finding Your Funding.” SBDC will also provide consultations on these topics during this portion of the event.

The May 10 event, being referred to as the “Maker Mix and Mingle,” will take place from 1-7 p.m. This event is open to the public.

This event will allow those in attendance to meet with one another for informal conversations and connect with those who can answer their small business-related questions, including inquiries on how to start ventures and how to do business with the government. Several topics will also be covered during the event. These include the use of artificial intelligence, tips on using social media, doing business with ETSY and more.

The May 10 event will also feature food and a cash bar after 4 p.m.

The Gossick Leadership Conference Center is located at 2912 Northshore Road in Tullahoma.