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Calling All Chattanooga Entrepreneurs!

Rock/Creek is excited that Chattanooga’s “Will This Float?” startup competition will this year focus on outdoor recreation and sustainability, a couple topics obviously close to our hearts here. You have to apply for the pitch competition by Sunday, November 9th, so don’t wait! Click here to access the application to pitch your company idea.

Two big winners from the past two years have been outdoor companies that we love working with- one, RootsRated, was founded with help from our very own Dawson Wheeler and Mark McKnight, and the other, Granola, makes chalk bags and backpacks you can purchase in our shops.

Full details from CO.LAB below:

CoLab Will this Float

Applications Open for Fifth Annual Will This Float Competition

Business pitch competition to highlight startups focused on outdoor recreation and sustainability

The Company Lab (CO.LAB) is currently seeking applications for its fifth annual Will This Float? competition, which showcases up-and-coming startup ideas in the Chattanooga area. Prospective participants must submit their business concepts by Nov. 9 to enter into consideration.

The competition will take place Nov. 18 from 6—9 p.m. on the 4th Floor of the Chattanooga Public Library. Tickets cost $7 in advance or $10 at the door. Food and beverages will be served. Click here to register for a free media pass.

The 2014 edition of Will This Float? will incorporate a special emphasis on startups that focus on outdoor recreation and sustainability. Entrepreneurs with business ideas in these areas are strongly encouraged to apply, as well as those with startup concepts of all kinds. Submissions will be narrowed to a maximum of 10 finalists that best meet a set of five assessment criteria.

“One of the things we love most about Will This Float? is that it gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to test the waters with their ideas, and it gives us insight into the broader idea market percolating in our community,” said Mike Bradshaw, executive director of CO.LAB. “Over the last few years, we’ve come into contact with a number of entrepreneurs who are pursuing businesses focused on outdoor recreation and sustainability, including two of our former Will This Float? winners – RootsRated and Granola. Our goal with this year’s competition is to bring more of these entrepreneurs together to share ideas and pursue new business opportunities.”

Established in 2010, Will This Float? is an annual business pitch competition that celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship in the Chattanooga area. Participants each get three minutes to pitch their startup idea before a panel of judges and an audience of local startup leaders, general attendees and potential mentors and business partners. Once all the presentations are complete, the audience votes on the best idea via text message while the judges deliberate backstage. At the end of the evening, CO.LAB will award winners across three categories – Best Overall, Best Outdoor/Sustainability Idea and Best General Business Idea. The top honoree will receive a cash prize, and all three winners will receive a package of free business services to continue developing their ideas.

Over the last four years, Will This Float? has showcased approximately 38 entrepreneurs who have raised more than $6 million in combined capital. The event attracts an average of 400 attendees annually, making it one of the largest business pitch competitions in the region. A number of notable entrepreneurial successes have grown out of Will This Float?, including SupplyHog, NODE (Variable, Inc.), RootsRated and Granola.

Click here to learn more about Will This Float? or to submit an application. To register as a general attendee, click here.


About The Company Lab (CO.LAB)

The Company Lab (CO.LAB) exists to support the startup community and surrounding region through programs, events and services. Operating under the belief that entrepreneurial thinking is the foundation of our community’s future, CO.LAB has devised a system to foster the startup spirit, which can be used as a model for entrepreneurial communities across the nation. Visit to learn more.

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