Driving Innovation

WHO WE ARE & WHY WE DO IT.

amplifying Rural areas across tn

 
 
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 Our Mission

 

Our mission is to support economic and workforce development by inspiring, equipping, and preparing our rural communities to build businesses, explore emerging industries and create engaging public spaces.

 
 
 
 

Helping Rural Areas:

 

Advance STEAM Education

Boost the Economy

Support Small Business Owners

Encourage Entrepreneurship

Amplify Community Assets

 
 
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Who We Serve

 
 
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West

Benton
Carroll
Chester
Decatur
Gibson
Hardeman
Hardin
Haywood
Henderson
Lake
Lauderdale
McNairy
Obion
Weakley

Middle

Clay
DeKalb
Fentress
Grundy
Hickman
Houston
Humphreys
Jackson
Macon
Lawrence
Lewis
Overton
Perry
Pickett
Putnam
Stewart
Van Buren
Warren
Wayne
White

East

Bledsoe
Campbell
Carter
Claiborne
Cocke
Cumberland
Grainger
Greene
Hancock
Hawkins
Johnson
Marion
McMinn
Meigs
Monroe
Morgan
Polk
Rhea
Scott
Unicoi
Union

 

 52

COUNTIES VISITED

Since February 2018, we’ve brought programming and resources directly to Tennessee’s rural communities.

 

13K

PEOPLE REACHED

Our events are attended by everyone, including students, teachers, business owners, community leaders, and entrepreneurs.

80

EVENTS HOSTED

We’ve hosted workshops and tours in rural communities at schools, festivals, libraries, summer camps, conferences, chambers, and more.

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Our Team

 
 
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Ben Harris

Program DIRECTOR & Co:founder

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Ben Ferguson

CO:Founder

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William Donnell

CO:founder

 
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Lisa Garner

Executive director

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Allison Wolfe

DIRECTOR OF partnerships

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Dan Drogosh

Operations manager

 
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Jameson Winter

Tech coordinator

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Katie Weatherford

Communications & Events Manager

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Christen Harper

Tech Education Coordinator

 
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Mason Ruby

tech Coordinator

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Terrence Murphy

Tech Assistant

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Monica Harris

Office Administrator

 
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FAQ

 

How do I schedule a visit? . . .

To schedule a visit from any of our mobile platforms, please fill out our corresponding requests forms. Request theLab Request theVenture If you have questions about a potential visit, please email info@tndrivinginnovation.com.

Who can schedule a visit? . . .

As part of our mission, we concentrate our efforts in Tennessee’s at risk and distressed counties. Please see the maps section of our website for a list of the counties we serve.

What does a visit from theLab look like? . . .

Our team will arrive an hour before your event to set up. We will need a flat, level surface that is at least 45’ x 9’ to park theLab. Once theLab tour begins, we can see about 10 students or participants every ten minutes. theLab is set up in two stages, and our staff handles everything on the mobile unit. The first stage takes about five to eight minutes. When a group finishes the first stage they then move on to stage 2 of theLab, and at the point we can take another group. We can speed up or slow down the experience as needed, depending on the amount of students/participants we are seeing that day.

How do I prepare for a visit from theLab? . . .

After confirming your event, we ask event hosts to prepare for a visit by designating a parking area for theLab, distributing waiver forms to students, and creating a visit schedule. For parking, we need a flat, level space that is at least 45’ x 9’. The waivers will be emailed by someone on our team once your visit is confirmed. Waivers should be taken home by the students, signed by a parent or guardian, and returned to administration prior to our visit. If your event is a festival or community event, no waivers are required. If your visit is to a school, you will need to create a visit schedule so teachers will know when to send students to the mobile lab. We can see 10 students every 10 minutes. Since our team will have to travel back to Jackson after the event, we prefer if schools can send students as quickly as possible.

How do I prepare for a visit from theVenture? . . .

Visits from theVenture are curated for the community, so each visit is unique. Our staff works with local partners to build the schedule that best fits their community. Before we arrive, we will work with our local host to select from our programming options. We have a variety of workshops for both current and aspiring business owners. Our local host will also be asked to promote to the area and help recruit attendees.

How do I prepare for a visit from theVenture? . . .

After the event schedule is determined, we ask event hosts to prepare for a visit by blocking off a parking area for theVenture and inviting the community to the event. For parking, we need a flat, level space that is at least 45’ x 9’. We will send you a media kit with all the materials you need to promote event signups.

How much does a visit cost? . . .

We are funded by the state to serve distressed and at-risk counties. For those visits in those areas, there is no cost for a visit.