JACKSON, TN: Linda Garrard, Ph. D., President and CEO of the Entrepreneur Development Center of West Tennessee (EDC) announced her retirement today.
Garrard has been instrumental in building the center to serve rural Southwest Tennessee as the front door for entrepreneurs looking to start businesses. Connecting the entrepreneurs with mentors, industry experts and eventually even angel and venture capital investors, the center’s primary mission is to create jobs in our Southwest Tennessee towns.
In the first two years, under Garrard’s direction, the center has worked with 76 companies, launched 15 new businesses and created 51 jobs. The center is also building out a medical device accelerator, which will focus on creating jobs in MED/Tech and healthcare delivery for our rural communities. The successes of the first two years are just a start.
According to Frank Lawrence, chairman of the board of EDC, “Linda has given us a great start, but there’s a lot more to do. We have the momentum to create hundreds of jobs in West Tennessee through start-ups and current businesses seeking to grow or scale. We will continue working to that end.” Garrard will serve in an advisory capacity while the board finalizes the search for her replacement. “Linda embraced the concept of Startup Tennessee and led a series of discovery visits to Nashville from Jackson throughout 2011. She has been an incredible leader for the program in Jackson and a fantastic partner here at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. We are going to miss having her leadership and support.”
Charlie Brock, CEO, Launch TN “I appreciate all her hard work and dedication in mentoring myself and the others who will always be the first accelerators in the program. Obegone Fitness would not be where it is today if it were not from the leadership at the center” stated Beth Patterson, Obegone Fitness. According to Marketia Jenkins, Healthy Living Solutions, “She has been instrumental in keeping so many of us focused & is the ultimate cheerleader.”
The Entrepreneur Development Center is the nexus for start-ups and founders, angel and venture capital investors, industry experts, professional service providers, universities and colleges, CEOs and senior executives from hospital, banks and other major institutions, and leaders in the region who share Launch TN’s mission of helping entrepreneurs build their businesses, creating jobs and building an entrepreneurial ecosystem in our communities and across the state.