BRISTOL, Tenn. — Bristol, Tennessee has awarded a grant to a nonprofit that will create a music, digital media and entertainment business accelerator program.
The Bristol Industrial Development Board awarded a grant of $35,000 to Sync Space, which subsequently added $40,000, raising the total to $75,000. The money will finance the creation of the program where local entrepreneurs can network, create and grow. The center will be in downtown Bristol and will run in association with Believe in Bristol.
Sync Space is the official Northeast Tennessee partner of Launch Tennessee, a state-funded program focused on empowering entrepreneurs and innovation in the state. Sync Space has been working to provide mentoring, funding and resources to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem to attract entrepreneurs to the region. It has six accelerators and programs, such as the STRIVE veteran entrepreneurs program with East Tennessee State University, as well as CO.STARTERS, a community-based entrepreneurship program in Tennessee.
“It’s really entrepreneurship as a tool for economic development,” said Heath Guinn, president and founder of Sync Space. “We want to attract talent from across the country to Bristol, to the area, so part of our collaborative efforts within the region has been building a brand for the entrepreneurial activity of the region that we can use to market to other channels and places around the country we work with.”
The grant is one of the seeds being planted by the Bristol Industrial Development Board in its efforts to create an environment where small businesses can thrive and eventually become bigger companies that will result in growth for the city’s economy.
Tom Anderson, the city’s economic development director, said he is looking forward to working with Sync Space and the resources and assistance it will provide for small businesses and entrepreneurs in Bristol.
“This will actually provide several seeds,” Anderson said. “We are working with certain companies that they could literally locate anywhere on the planet. So what we are trying to do is get them to locate here. … When they grow here, they plant roots and they stay.”
Sync Space is already working closely with its partners in Nashville to potentially create a joint program that would allow Bristol’s entertainment, technology and digital media entrepreneurs to tap into the network and resources of Nashville, Guinn said.