Family emergencies drove creation of The CPR LifeWrap | Tom Ballard 

While Felicia Jackson describes herself as a “closet inventor,” it was two family emergencies – one that ended on a positive note, but one that did not – that led her to create something called The CPR LifeWrap. The Chattanooga native and mother of three has spent more than 20 years in the medical field in acute inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient care, and home health settings. Jackson holds an A.A.S. Degree from Chattanooga State Technical Community College and currently works as a Physical Therapy Assistant at Memorial Hospital.

Even with her experience and training including certification in CPR, she says she was not prepared for the first of those two emergencies when her then two-year old son was choking in the back seat of the family car. “He was blue, and I had forgotten all I had learned,” Jackson says of experience 14 years ago. Fortunately, her husband swung into action and removed the piece of food that was the problem.

Fast forward to 2008, and the outcome was far different. Jackson’s niece attempted suicide, only to be successfully revived by paramedics. Unfortunately, the relative died the next day.

Two years later, Jackson told us she recalls a dream in which she vividly saw what became The CPR LifeWrap.

Donations sought for new transitional home for HIV-positive women | Chloe Morrison | January 5, 2017

Local entrepreneur Lisa Tumlin is opening a transitional home for HIV-positive women, and she's looking for a last few donations before women start moving in next week. 

"I'm trying to supply everything and I'm paying the rent," she said. 

Although she has gotten a lot of what she needs, such as linens and beds, she's still in need of a kitchen table, computer and washer/dryer—which can be used, she said. She's also hoping for supplemental food/pantry items and household goods, such as laundry and dishwashing detergents. 

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Local businesses give back to veterans with discounts, freebies

November 10, 2016 | | Chloe Morrison

The nation will celebrate Veterans Day Nov. 11, and many local businesses are finding ways to honor those who served their country.
AFC Urgent Care/Family Care is offering free flu shots for veterans between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

"The veterans of this country have given so much to all of us," CEO Larry Kugler said in a prepared statement. "This is one way that we at AFC can give back to them."

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Local transportation company opening soon

November 8, 2016 |

A new startup that will provide relaxing transportation services for the surrounding areas will open Nov. 10. Royal Transportation, owned by LAUNCH entrepreneur Brian Allen, will open with an upcoming kickoff event at the Edney Innovation Center. LAUNCH aims to empower community members through entrepreneurship, job training and mentorship. 

The idea for Royal Transportation sprouted from a time when Allen was traveling frequently between Chattanooga and Nashville in a 15-passenger van.

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Royal Transportation Gets Ready To Start Service

November 7, 2016 |

LAUNCH entrepreneur Brian Allen will officially open Royal Transportation for business on Thursday with a kick-off event. The event, which will include other local Chattanooga entrepreneurs who will talk about their businesses, will take place starting at 6:30 p.m. at The Edney Building.  There will be light hors d'oeuvres and soft music. Admission is free, but attendees must RSVP, as space is limited.

Based in Chattanooga, Royal Transportation offers transportation services between Chattanooga, Atlanta, Nashville and other surrounding areas.

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4 businesses recognized in LAUNCH pitch competition

October 12, 2016 |

LAUNCH recently hosted its third annual Startup Showdown, where 10 entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges. First place and a prize of $2,500 went to Pat Rowe, who owns barbecue catering company BBQ Rowe. Rowe serves a variety of items, including ribs, pulled pork, turkey legs and rotisserie chicken.

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LAUNCH Startup Showdown Winners Announced

October 11, 2016 |

LAUNCH held their 3rd annual Startup Showdown, where 10 entrepreneurs from their Business Entrepreneurship Academy pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges. 

First place and a prize of $2,500 went to Pat Rowe, owner and operator of BBQ Rowe, a barbecue catering company that will "satisfy your tastes." Pat serves a variety of items, including ribs, pulled pork, turkey legs, and rotisserie chicken.  

Second place of $1,500 went to Chris Patty, owner of Testimony Printworks, based in Rossville. Testimony Printworks is a full service company that can put a logo on just about anything. They produce custom banners, drinkware, T-shirts and other promotional products at an affordable price. 

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Feds give $50,000 to help minority-owned startups in Chattanooga

September 27, 2016 | | David Flessner

The Chattanooga-based nonprofit Launch will receive a $50,000 federal grant to help fund its efforts to develop and encourage more minority and women entrepreneurs in Chattanooga.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that Launch was picked as one of 67 recipients of SBA funding through the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.

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LAUNCH Selected By U.S. Small Business Administration As Growth Accelerator Fund Recipient

September 27, 2016 |

Chattanooga based nonprofit LAUNCH has been announced as an awardee of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition by the U.S. Small Business Administration office of Investment and Innovation. The competition saw over 400 applications from organizations across 32 states and the District of Columbia. LAUNCH and the additional 67 recipients will be awarded $50,000 each totaling $3.4 million in prizes to boost the economic impact of accelerators across 32 states and the District of Columbia. 

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LAUNCH summer workshop builds on entrepreneurship skills learned during school year

June 7, 2016 | Alina Hunter-Shaw |

From playing an escape game to meeting with local business leaders, participants in LAUNCH's second Kinect summer program will get an array of experiences this week meant to inspire them to become entrepreneurs. 

LAUNCH Kinect is a workshop happening this week that builds on and goes beyond lessons taught in the nonprofit's High School Entrepreneurship Program. 

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LAUNCH Kinect Holds Summer Camp Next Week

Friday, June 3, 2016 | | John Wilson

LAUNCH will hold it's second annual LAUNCH Kinect week long summer camp June 6-10.

"LAUNCH Kinect's aim is to empower and grow students' knowledge and connections throughout Chattanooga with the support of positive and influential local business leaders. This week-long intensive workshop focuses on additional entrepreneurial skills, going beyond LAUNCH's High School Entrepreneurship Program," organizers said.

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LAUNCH: Partnering for Impact

April 1, 2016 | FSG Bank | Andy Jones

Jamaal Macon spent five years as a franchisee of a commercial cleaning company before making a risky decision. He knew the financials were skewed in favor of the franchisor, and he wanted to be more than an employee. He wanted, instead, to own and operate his own cleaning company. But even though he was skilled at his work, Jamaal knew there were parts of the business with which he was unfamiliar.

A friend told Jamaal about LAUNCH, a Chattanooga-based organization that provides the training and support people need to pursue their dream of becoming business owners. Jamaal enrolled in one of LAUNCH's entrepreneurship academies and completed the ten-week training. Today, Jamaal is a proud business owner, serving and growing his business. As he describes, LAUNCH was a vital partner.

"I wouldn't [have the great opportunities I have] with my business right now without LAUNCH. The class taught me my target market, hourly rate, startup costs and how to get my business license and insurance. It helped me eliminate the struggle to establish a foundation for my business. LAUNCH also connected me with people who could give me insight for my business."

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March 9, 2016 | | Ashley Hendersen

Some Brainerd High school students get an extra $2,500 to help pay for college or start up a business. It’s all thanks to LAUNCH’s Youth Entrepreneurship Competition.
The 3-in-1 Toothbrush took the top prize at the LAUNCH pitch competition.
It’s for travelers and people on the go because it contains a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss all in one unit.

Read the full store over at WDEF.COM.

3-In-1 Toothbrush Wins LAUNCH's Youth Entrepreneurship Competition

March 7, 2016 | | John Wilson

After 13 groups of young entrepreneurs pitched their business plans at LAUNCH’s Youth Entrepreneurship Competition, 3-in-1 Toothbrush won the evening’s top prize.

3-in-1 Toothbrush is a "convenient toothbrush for travelers and people on the go where the toothbrush, toothpaste and floss are all contained in one unit," thought of by L.E.R. Company, Lexis Parks, Edwrick Bishop, and Renus Evans from Brainerd High School. The first place title has earned them $2,500 in prize cash, which can be used towards starting their business or college expenses.

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Business Bits: High school entrepreneurship competition scheduled and more

February 26, 2016 | | Chloe Morrison

Chattanooga nonprofit organization LAUNCH is hosting the High School Entrepreneurship Competition on March 6.

The event is the finale of the organization's 2015–16 high school entrepreneurship program, which trains students in the necessary steps to start a small business, as well as other life skills. 

"The winners will walk away with a cash prize that can be used to start the business or go toward college expenses," Gina Soltau, LAUNCH program director, said in a prepared statement. "If they do decide to start their business, we will also include other support services from LAUNCH, just as we do with graduates of our Business Entrepreneurship Academy."

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LAUNCH To Hold 5th Annual Youth Entrepreneurship Competition In March

February 25, 2016 |

Local nonprofit LAUNCH will hold its annual Youth Entrepreneurship Competition on Sunday, March 6, at UTC’s University Center. This competition is the finale of LAUNCH’s 2015-16 High School Entrepreneurship Program.

During the competition, 12 groups will pitch their business plans to a panel of judges. Three groups will walk away with a prize package that can be spent on startup costs or college.

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Chattanooga's 'Layered' Entrepreneurial Ecosystem is a Small-Town Recipe, Kauffman Foundation Study Shows

February 24, 2016 |

Chattanooga, Tenn.'s long history of collaboration and public-private partnerships paved the way for an entrepreneurial ecosystem that permeates the city's economic development strategy, according to a research paper released today by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The report, which outlines steps that provide implications for small cities around the country, identifies multiple layers of intertwined supporting organizations that have bolstered entrepreneurship in Chattanooga.

"Little Town, Layered Ecosystem: A Case Study of Chattanooga," was released as part of the Kauffman Foundation Research Series on City, Metro and Regional Entrepreneurship.

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LAUNCH Business Entrepreneurship Academy Open for Applications

February 18, 2016 | | Chloe Morrison

LAUNCH is gearing up for its spring Business Entrepreneurship Academy, which teaches budding entrepreneurs how to start their own businesses. 

"Anyone that is interested in starting a small business and needs some guidelines, or maybe [who] already has a small business and wants to go back and reassess, [should take the class]," Gina Soltau, LAUNCH program director, said.

The 10-week course is done once a week during a three-hour class. Topics include how to develop a business plan, market research, customer development, financial planning, marketing, branding, social media and more. 

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Made in our Hometown

January 8, 2016 | | Latricia Thomas

LifeWrap Hopes to Help When Every Second Counts

When every second counts, would you know what to do? Felicia Jackson didn't, even though she had received CPR training in the past. "I could not think anywhere in my mind how to do CPR how to get him breathing again," Jackson says.

It wasn't long after, that the Lifewrap was born. "I spoke to paramedics and that's what they see, parents running their children out to them when every second counts."

Lifewrap got their initial boost from Launch Chattanooga, which helps green business men and women turn their ideas that are scribbled on a napkin, into a reality.

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