Chattanooga Chamber Appoints Alexis Willis Director Of Small Business And Entrepreneurship

Willis To Direct INCubator At The Hamilton County Business Development Center

Monday, December 4, 2017
Alexis Willis
Alexis Willis

Alexis Willis will join the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce as director of Small Business and Entrepreneurship beginning Jan. 8, a Chamber spokesperson announced Monday. Ms. Willis will direct the activities of the INCubator, which is located in the Hamilton County Business Development Center on the North Shore. 

“Alexis is a dynamic leader with a great background in our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Charles Wood, vice president of Economic Development for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. “Her energy and enthusiasm will play a critical role in helping move the INCubator to the next level as we continue this critical partnership between the Chamber and Hamilton County.” 

Ms. Willis will lead a dynamic and passionate team of five members at the INCubator. Most recently, Ms. Willis served as director of Business Support for The Company Lab, also known as CO.LAB. During her tenure there, she built foundational support for the strong partnership between CO.LAB and LAUNCH Chattanooga. As a certified CO.STARTERS facilitator, she has trained dozens of startup owners and in 2016 was nominated Startup Advocate of the Year by the community through the Chattanooga Startup Awards program.  

Ms. Willis serves on the boards of the Virginia College of Business as well as Stove Works, a multi-use venue for artists. She’s a founding member of the Greater Chattanooga Sankofa Fund for Civic Engagement, a giving circle committed to supporting Chattanooga’s communities of color; and she served as a board member for the Leadership Chattanooga Alumni Association for two years, having graduated the program in 2014. 

Her first company, Natural Beautiful Me, was founded in 2011 as a platform to empower women to value their identity and embrace their natural beauty. Her second brand, The Red Lipstick Experiment, launched in 2013. Ms. Willis earned a B.A. in English-Writing from UTC with a minor in Business Administration, along with several professional certifications. 

At any given time, about 70 businesses call the Hamilton County Business Development Center home. Clients generally stay for up to three years before graduating. A recent economic impact survey reported INCubator clients generated $17 million in revenues and investment over a 12-month period. Of that, $13 million represents new dollars brought into the Hamilton County economy. 

Next year the INCubator will celebrate 30 years of providing businesses the support services they need to succeed through a three-year, progressive development program. 

At the INCubator, clients share administrative services, manufacturing and office space, training workshops and use of the building’s Technology Conference Center, as well as access to free onsite business counseling from the Tennessee Small Business Development Center.
 



Chattanooga Chamber Calendar Of Events Sept. 24-28

Sept. 24, Excel at Excel: Beginner Excel Training 10 to 11:30 a.m. The Edney Innovation Center: 1100 Market St., Floor Five Attend this session to learn about setting print parameters, formatting spreadsheets, sorting information, filtering information, splitting cells, simple formulas, PivotTables (they’re easier than you think!) and other features ... (click for more)

Georgia Labor Market Sets Records In August

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said  Thursday  that Georgia’s unemployment rate for August dipped below the national number for the first time  in 11 years . The rate, at 3.8 percent, is approaching the state’s record low of 3.4 percent, set in 2000. At 3.8 percent, it is down .1 percent from July. By comparison, the national rate is 3.9 percent. ... (click for more)

Judge Collier Denies New Trial For Ex Pilot Travel Centers President Hazelwood; Did Not File Within 14 Days Of Verdict

Federal Judge Curtis Collier has issued a 48-page order denying a new trial for former Pilot Travel Centers president Mark Hazelwood. He said initial Hazelwood attorney Rusty Hardin of Houston, Tex., did not follow federal rules of filing notice of an appeal within 14 days of the verdict. Judge Collier also denied a request by Brad Henry, the new Hazelwood lawyer, for time ... (click for more)

Juvenile Shot On East 14th Street On Friday

A juvenile was shot Friday evening on East 14th Street. The Chattanooga Police Department responded at 6:45 p.m. to a person shot in the 2000 block of East 14th Street. Upon arrival, Officers located a male victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Hamilton County EMS responded to the scene and transported the victim to a local hospital. Members of the Violent ... (click for more)

Arming Teachers With Guns Will Be Too Dangerous - And Response (4)

Arming teachers with guns in the classroom, as Bill Lee proposes, would be the single most dangerous thing to happen to students in Tennessee history. Students and teachers in close proximity to loaded firearms daily? Across this state, in middle schools alone, there are probably hundreds of student/teacher conflicts a day. What if a student got hold of gun in a struggle with ... (click for more)

The Saturday Funnies

Before we get into this week’s edition of The Saturday Funnies, I want to share a fun chunk of information that we can have a lot of fun with tonight. Our pals at the website timeanddate.com were good enough to pass along the fact today marks the September Equinox. And – get this -- if you play this right, it will be just like the farmer says: “On the field of opportunity, it’s ... (click for more)