The Company Lab Thursday announced that Additive Manufacturing (3D printing), Healthcare and Smart Grid Development will be the three focus areas of GIGTANK 2014, an annual entrepreneurial accelerator that leverages Chattanooga's advanced fiber infrastructure to build next-generation business models. These three industry verticals represent regional economic strengths in which the Chattanooga area has dramatic potential to excel, officials said.
CO.LAB will coordinate the Additive Manufacturing vertical, as well as the Smart Grid track with support from EPB, while ProjectLift will serve as a lead facilitator for the Healthcare track. UTC will provide housing for all GIGTANK teams.
Now preparing for its third iteration, GIGTANK is the world's only startup accelerator connected to a living, metro-wide fiber optic network. The program takes place each summer between May and August and is hosted by CO.LAB. Applications for the 2014 accelerator will open Jan. 15 and close March 14.
“Chattanooga is a hub for manufacturing and home to the nation’s most advanced smart grid network,” said Mike Bradshaw, executive director of CO.LAB. “Our foothold in these areas creates an entirely new domain of possibilities when combined with our gigabit Internet service. For startups in the healthcare industry, Chattanooga’s broadband opens new territory for developing next-generation telemedicine and medical imagery applications. For those exploring applications in advanced manufacturing and smart grid technologies, we offer a robust network of experts and industry contacts. This is an especially valuable resource to startups looking to pilot new business applications in active, networked industry settings.”
GIGTANK 2014 will facilitate those opportunities, explained Mr. Bradshaw. At the same time, the program will connect local companies with innovations that could potentially redefine their industries and give them an edge on their competitors.
Partnerships with local manufacturers will be key to the GIGTANK experience, especially among those interested in exploring opportunities related to 3D printing, said officials. With the addition of the Additive Manufacturing track, GIGTANK becomes the nation's first startup accelerator to offer a program focused on launching 3D printing applications in the conventional manufacturing space. The Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has already agreed to support this process by providing GIGTANK teams access to its state-of-the-art additive manufacturing equipment. Chattanooga State will also contribute resources to support the Additive Manufacturing track.
To learn more about GIGTANK 2014, visit www.thegigtank.com
. For information about becoming a GIGTANK partner, mentor or program participant, click here