Our Mission & Vision
Empowering underserved communities and individuals through entrepreneurship. A community that builds hope and equity to all individuals through entrepreneurship.
Why LAUNCH CHA
LAUNCH CHA exists to build a thriving Chattanooga where every individual who dreams of a business can be confident that the community will stand with them, removing obstacles, and creating opportunities for their success.
In addition to our work with adult entrepreneurs through LAUNCH CHA, we empower entrepreneurship in high school students through LAUNCHing Bright Ideas; we provide a space for food-centric small business owners to hone their craft in the Kitchen Incubator of Chattanooga (KIC), and we cultivate partnerships across the country in our national initiative StartSpark.
A thriving Chattanooga is a place where all Chattanoogans have an opportunity for meaningful employment and engagement in the community they love. It’s a place where individuals can launch and grow businesses that provide the goods and services needed to sustain a healthy local economy and to create quality and accessible jobs.
Our conviction is that people from ALL backgrounds have strong ideas, passion and grit with which to build these future businesses and grow existing ones. Our focus has been to support underrepresented entrepreneurs, specifically minorities, women and people born in low-wealth communities.
Stand with Them
All entrepreneurs have dreams that are equally powerful and inspiring, yet many that we work with lack access to opportunities because of systemic injustices, educational barriers or having the confidence to navigate the startup experience. These Chattanoogans need focused support to overcome these obstacles.
This vision is vital for the future of our community because business ownership:
Helps people find pathways to economic prosperity.
Provides full-time or supplemental income.
Provides the opportunity to improve their quality of life.
Allows for economic mobility.
Strengthens confidence - which leads to improved quality of life and more rigorous pursuit of goals.
Bridges the gap that educational barriers have created.
Creates generational impact.
Empowers populations that have been historically marginalized.
Facilitates job creation.
Creates increased access to goods and services within communities.
Builds resilience in the community.
In 2010, a group of local businessmen were moved by the negative impact of the recession on many in the community and were inspired to call on individuals, churches, and businesses to use their collective experience to provide support to underserved entrepreneurs. The goal was to empower individuals by fostering an entrepreneurial spirit, and encourage job creation by building small businesses putting people in a position to succeed. With this goal and backing from the community, LAUNCH was born.
Over time we became more aware of the need for greater diversity among the entrepreneurial landscape. In our city, African Americans own only 10% of the businesses and women only 14%. With this as an additional focus, 71% of LAUNCH-supported businesses are owned by African Americans and 65% are owned by women, generating an estimated $11.5 million in annual revenue.
LAUNCH’s first program, the Business Entrepreneurship Academy, began in April 2011, providing the education necessary to create a new group of entrepreneurs, startups, and business owners. In 2012, LAUNCH expanded into two additional areas of the city and began outreach to a younger generation of entrepreneurs by partnering with The Howard School to create the High School Entrepreneurship Program. This effort has since expanded to nine local schools in the Chattanooga urban core, and both youth and adult programs continue to produce streams of motivated, educated graduates from classes in and around the Chattanooga area.
Chattanooga has great resources for entrepreneurs and LAUNCH's role is to make sure no entrepreneur is left out. LAUNCH is extremely grateful to all of the partners who have helped pursue the mission and provided support to the community's entrepreneurs so that they can pursue their dreams. Our success would not have been possible without all those who have assisted us in assisting the community.