LAUNCH Chattanooga launched 10 years ago to support minorities, women and underrepresented communities lacking access to resources in business ownership. At the Chattanooga Area Chamber Small Business of Commerce Awards Ceremony on March 16, LAUNCH will be honored as a finalist for the Nonprofit of the Year.
Hal Bowling, co-founder and executive director of LAUNCH Chattanooga, has spent the last decade pursuing greater inclusivity in Chattanooga’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“In 2010,” Mr. Bowling explained, “myself and a few local businessmen recognized the negative effects of the recession on underserved entrepreneurs. Since then, we are proud to have played a role in removing barriers to entrepreneurship in our community. We are thankful to the Chamber of Commerce for the nomination and our contributing partners that have supported us throughout the journey.”
LAUNCH has been a part of the story for successful local businesses like Cocoa Asante, Neutral Ground, and The Chattery, all of which are LAUNCH graduates. Jennifer Holder, the co-founder of The Chattery, says that, “Without the push of taking a class and the support of my classmates, I don’t know that I would have ever fully fleshed out the idea of The Chattery. These classes gave me the tools and resources to get started, and I’m extremely grateful for my experience through LAUNCH.”
LAUNCH Chattanooga and the other nominees will find out on March 16 at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business Awards, whether they are recognized as the Nonprofit of the Year. Other categories for Small Business of the Year for businesses of 1-20 employees, 21-50 employees, and 50-300+ employees.
"Regardless of who is chosen as Nonprofit of the Year," Mr. Bowling said, "LAUNCH is honored to be recognized with this great group of nominees. We are most excited about the attention it brings to the work we do and our client companies in their path to business ownership and self-determination."