Entrepreneur Resources

Get Connected: Networking in Northeast TN


Get Connected: Networking in Northeast TN

In person networking is one of the oldest and still one of the best ways to spread the word about your business, build relationships in the community, and generate leads.

We have many wonderful networking groups throughout Northeast Tennessee. This week, we’re highlighting four of the wonderful organizations that specifically target entrepreneurs, startups and small business owners.

ETSU Entrepreneurs Club

The East Tennessee State University Entrepreneurs Club is a program that works closely with the College of Business and Technology to provide an opportunity for students to connect with business people throughout the region and to cultivate an environment where tips and ideas are shared.

Their mission is to provide a forum of interaction between entrepreneurs, students, faculty, and other professionals who are interested in learning more about self-employment opportunities.

Not a student? No worries! The Club is open to the public and holds six meetings throughout the year – meeting three times during each the fall and spring semesters. Whether you’re thinking about starting your own business or you’re just interested in learning more about new businesses in the area, all are welcome to join.

Meetings take place on the ETSU campus located in Johnson City, TN, where they host a variety of speakers and entrepreneurs that members learn from about their motivations, failures, and victories.

Learn more about the Club online and contact Mitzi Brookshear at brookshe@etsu.edu if you would like to be added to their mailing list to learn about upcoming events.

Startup Tri-Cities

Startup Tri-Cities is a network of entrepreneurs and supporting organizations serving Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol and the surrounding areas.

Started by four local entrepreneurs, their mission is to connect entrepreneurs to the amazing resources, mentors, and events in the Tri-Cities in order to grow the startup community in our region.

The Startup Tri-Cities team is comprised of David Nelson and Travis Rother, Co-Founders of BrewFund, Inc.; Edwin Williams, Founder of Perserbid; and Arnab Chakraborty, Co-Founder of Flow MedTech™.

If you’re looking to get connected in the area with other entrepreneurs from around the region, plan on attending one of the Entrepreneur Roundtables the group hosts periodically. These events are a time for startups and entrepreneurs to meet and discuss the reality of starting and running a business. There is generally a theme for the topic of conversation and the group tackles the topic collaboratively. You can stay up-to-date on this event by liking Startup Tri-Cities on Facebook!

And stay tuned for details on the next Pitches & Pints event, which is tentatively scheduled to take place again in early 2018! Pitches & Pints is an event that was created by active entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs to help them pitch their big ideas to community leaders and organizations that can support them in their efforts.

“A startup community is stronger when the talented people behind the companies come together and network on a regular basis. It is time to stand up, stand out, and start something new together.” A quote reads on their website.

Learn more about Startup Tri-Cities and all their upcoming events online!

TuesdaysTogether Tri-Cities TN

The TuesdaysTogether Tri-Cities TN group is one of over 400 chapters around the world of the larger parent organization, The Rising Tide Society, who recently merged with Honeybook.

The Rising Tide Society was started by four friends in an effort to bring more community to the often cut throat world of photography. They formed RTS and hosted their first meetup in May 2015 with meetings taking place in 12 cities across the U.S. What started as a way for photographers to connect and collaborate evolved into so much more for the creative economy.

In August of 2015, Amanda Elkins, Founder of Bellamanda Photography, applied to open a chapter in Tri-Cities, TN. Soon after, she welcomed Katy Sergent, Founder of Katy Sergent Photography & Design, and Ashley Cox, Founder of sproutHR, to co-lead the group with her.

The group of creative professionals gathers monthly in the spirit of “Community Over Competition.” Each month, a speaker is selected to share information on a topic that is relevant to small business owners, from social media marketing, to identifying your ideal niche and client, to bookkeeping, and more.

In March 2016, the team welcomed Rachael Little-Holmes, Founder of Petite Sweets, as a new co-leader after Ashley stepped back from an active leadership role to focus more on her business.

Collectively, the team alongside their growing member base, worked hard to connect with as many entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Tri-Cities area and beyond. They quickly grew the group from just 25 members in early 2016 to 300 members today.

Creative Entrepreneurs and Small Business CEOs are all welcome to join the private Facebook Group and attend the monthly meetings.

To learn more about the parent organization, The Rising Tide Society, visit them online!

Women of Worth (WOW) Tri-Cities by KOSBE

Women of Worth (WOW) is a program of the Kingsport Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (KOSBE). The program was developed to support the many women in the region who own and operate small businesses.

Each month, WOW hosts their Woman-Owned Wednesday networking event at various locations throughout the Tri-Cities. Every effort is made to host the event in a member’s brick and mortar business, so all members can support their fellow member’s business.

During the meetups, the members have a chance to mingle and network, learn about the business that’s hosting that month’s event, and learn about a topic important to running a successful business.

The WOW program is led by:

Aundrea Wilcox, MBA – Senior Business Counselor of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at ETSU Kingsport Affiliate Office and Executive Director of KOSBE at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce


Aditi Bhave – Administrative and Project Coordinator of KOSBE at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.

To learn more about KOSBE and the Women of Worth Tri-Cities program, visit them online.

In Closing

Networking can help you learn new skills and information, connect with other local entrepreneurs and organizations, and help you build the network you will need in order to thrive as a small business. Each of these groups provides something different and all offer a welcoming environment. If you’re brand new to running a small business or you’re a seasoned pro, there’s something for everyone! Come out and join us as we connect all over the Tri-Cities!

Never miss an entrepreneurial seminar, workshop, or event taking place in Northeast Tennessee. Sign up for The Dispatch, AccelNow’s weekly newsletter, today!


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