GIGTANK Selects Startup Teams for 2014 Accelerator
Startup innovators and specialists from across the U.S. will soon convene in Chattanooga to launch 12 next-generation companies. As the newest members of GIGTANK, these emerging entrepreneurs will spend 10-12 weeks preparing startups for the 3D printing/additive manufacturing, smart grid and healthcare markets.
Hosted by The Company Lab (CO.LAB), GIGTANK is an annual startup accelerator that connects seed stage businesses with the tools, capital and connections needed to go to market. As the first and only startup accelerator wired to a metro gigabit network, GIGTANK attracts world-class talent to Chattanooga each summer, as well as ongoing recognition from tech circles across the globe.
This year, the accelerator will accommodate 12 startup teams and 10 specialists throughout the duration of the program, which begins May 12 and ends July 31. Key participation benefits include $15,000 in initial seed funding for startup teams, a $3,000 stipend for specialists, free workspace and free housing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“The interest GIGTANK has received from startups across the country has been amazing,” said Mike Bradshaw, director of GIGTANK and executive director of CO.LAB. “The reputation the program earned in its first two years brought us dozens of very highly-qualified applicants.”
Participants for the 2014 program come from a diverse array of geographies, backgrounds and skill sets. Among them, some are based as far away as San Diego and Los Angeles, while others are located in nearby cities such as Atlanta, Huntsville and Asheville.
“We were very excited to see so many innovative, qualified teams from the Southeast apply to GIGTANK,” said Bradshaw. “Building a regional focus with neighboring startup communities is a priority we all share, and we already see that value at work in our 2014 cohort.”
To support GIGTANK 2014’s three startup tracks, EPB and ProjectLift are partnering with CO.LAB to facilitate the program. EPB is assisting with the Smart Grid vertical, and ProjectLift is leading the Healthcare track. CO.LAB will oversee the 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing vertical and provide general programming.
“One of our goals this year is to connect our region’s legacy as a manufacturing hub with its future-forward position as the nation’s first Gig City,” explained Bradshaw. “Gigabit networks like ours will play a central role in connecting the manufacturing supply chains of the near future. Along with our healthcare and smart grid teams, GIGTANK 2014 combines our region’s traditional strengths with our culture of innovation.”
Visit www.thegigtank.com to learn more about GIGTANK 2014.
More Business News
Last Update on September 03, 2015 17:40 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but applications remain at historically near low levels in a positive sign for the U.S. economy amid a broader global slowdown.
The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 282,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 3,250 to 275,500. That average has fallen 9.2 percent over the past 12 months.
The relatively meager number of layoffs generally corresponds with strong hiring levels in the monthly jobs report being released Friday.
Economists expect that employers added 207,500 jobs in August as the unemployment rate dips to 5.2 percent from 5.3 percent. Hiring at that pace suggests the U.S. economy has been insulated from uncertainty about China's financial health that sparked a recent stock sell-off.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. services companies expanded at a healthy pace in August, lifted by robust consumer spending resulting from steady job gains.
The Institute for Supply Management says that its services index slipped to 59 from 60.3 in the previous month. July's reading was the highest in a decade, and any reading over 50 indicates expansion.
The index remains at a high level despite the decline and suggests that Americans have been spending freely at retail stores, hotels, restaurants and other firms that make up the index. The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers. Its services survey covers businesses that employ 90 percent of workers.
A measure of sales and production fell one point but remained at a solid level of 63.9. A gauge of new orders also fell slightly.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week after a sharp drop the previous week, as global markets continued to whipsaw amid economic disruption in China and uncertainty over Federal Reserve interest-rate policy.
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased to 3.89 percent from 3.84 percent a week earlier. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages advanced to 3.09 percent from 3.06 percent.
The rates remain well below their levels of a year ago, when the 30-year loan rate was 4.10 percent and the 15-year rate was 3.24 percent.
Mortgage rates have been tracking the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond, as investors have fled turbulent stock markets in recent weeks for the safety of U.S. government bonds, and then markets have sharply recovered.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. trade deficit fell in July to the lowest level in five months as exports posted a small gain while imports declined, reflecting a big drop in shipments of consumer goods such as cell phones.
The Commerce Department says the deficit narrowed to $41.9 billion in July, a 7.4 percent decline from a June imbalance of $45.2 billion. Exports were up a small 0.4 percent to $188.5 billion, helped by stronger sales of U.S.-made autos and machinery, while imports declined 1.1 percent to $230.4 billion.
So far this year, the deficit is running 3.6 percent above last year's level, reflecting weaker export sales. The concern is that U.S. growth will be hurt by further declines in exports, reflecting a stronger dollar and overseas weakness in nations such as China.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) --
The European Central Bank says it's ready to give the eurozone a bigger dose of stimulus should inflation across the 19-country bloc fail to pick up, President Mario Draghi said. Along with lower interest rates, the ECB is pumping 60 billion euros a month into the economy through purchases of government and corporate bonds. The program is slated to run at least through September 2016.
European markets jumped on the news. Germany's DAX added 2.3 percent, France's CAC-40 rose 2.1 percent and U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 1.6 percent.
The stimulus is intended to help get consumer price inflation back toward the ECB's target of just below 2 percent. In the year to August, it stood at 0.2 percent. Draghi said it could go negative in coming months following the recent drop in oil prices.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration says it wants to end discrimination against transgender people throughout the health care system.
The new protections are part of a much broader proposed regulation released Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The long-delayed rule amounts to a manual for carrying out the anti-discrimination section of President Barack Obama's health care law.
That law prohibits bias in medical care on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. Those underlying provisions are in effect.
The latest proposal clarifies that gender identity is covered under the law's ban against sex discrimination.
Hospitals that accept Medicare would have to comply with the rule, as well as most doctors.
The rule doesn't require insurers to cover gender transition surgery.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- A federal judge has approved a $415 million settlement to resolve a class-action lawsuit alleging Apple, Google, Intel and two other Silicon Valley companies illegally conspired to prevent their workers from getting better job offers.
The settlement will pay more than 64,000 technology workers about $5,800 apiece.
The approval granted Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ends a lengthy legal saga that exposed internal emails that cast former Apple CEO Steve Jobs in an unflattering light. Koh had rejected an earlier $324.5 million settlement of the case reached last year as inadequate.
The lawsuit accused Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe Systems of forming a secret cartel that agreed not to recruit each other's workers. Lawyers for the employees argued the pact illegally suppressed the wages of the affected technology workers.
INTERNET SEX TRAFFICKING
SEATTLE (AP) -- The Washington Supreme Court has ruled in favor of three young girls who sued Backpage.com after they were sold as prostitutes on the site.
Thursday's ruling says the Communications Decency Act does not protect Backpage from state lawsuits because of allegations that the company didn't just host the ads, but helped develop the content.
The lawsuit claimed Backpage.com markets itself as a place to sell "escort services" but actually provides pimps with instructions on how to write an ad that works.
Backpage had filed a motion to dismiss the suit. A lower court denied that request and the company appealed, saying it was immune from liability.
But the Supreme Court says the case should proceed because the girls have alleged facts that, if proved, would show that Backpage helped produce illegal content.
GULF OIL SPILL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- BP is going back to a federal appeals court in a case involving businesses' damage claims from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The oil giant wants restitution of some of the money it paid in claims to businesses as part of a 2012 settlement. BP eventually won a revision in the way losses were calculated after arguing the settlement claims administrator wasn't correctly matching business's revenues and expenses.
Now, BP is seeking restitution and interest on some of the money paid out prior to October 2013 -- before the revision was approved. In court documents, the company says hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments Thursday. A ruling isn't expected immediately.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER-OIL SPILL
Part of Mississippi River closes; 2 boats collide, spill oil
PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says part of the Mississippi River has been closed as crews investigate and clean up an oil spill caused by the collision of two tow boats.
The Coast Guard says the collision Wednesday evening near Paducah, Kentucky, damaged at least one barge carrying clarified slurry oil. The cargo tank was ruptured, causing an unknown amount of oil to spill into the river.
Officials say the river is closed from mile markers 938 to 922.
The Coast Guard said Thursday that the maximum amount of oil that could have spilled is 250,000 gallons. The agency says it's working with the barge owner and an oil spill response organization to determine the exact amount of oil that poured into the water.
The cause of the collision is being investigated.
GREEN ENERGY-PONZI SCHEME
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Prosecutors have charged three people with running a $54 million Ponzi scheme they say was built on promises of a green energy technology that would turn trash into fuel that they never developed.
Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia unsealed an indictment Thursday against 34-year-old Troy Wragg, of Georgia, 32-year-old Amanda Knorr, of Pennsylvania, and 52-year-old Wayde McKelvy, of Colorado. They were charged with wire and securities fraud and conspiracy.
It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys who could comment on their behalf.
Prosecutors say they lied to investors that their "biochar" technology and "carbon-negative" housing in Tennessee made millions, but they had almost no earnings and used the money to repay earlier investors and for themselves.
Wragg and Knorr were ordered to pay $37 million each after losing a Securities and Exchange Commission civil suit in 2012.
OVATION GUITAR FACTORY
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A Connecticut factory that produced Ovation guitars for nearly a half century before closing last year will be making the renowned instruments once again, thanks to factory employees' efforts.
Fender Musical Instruments Corp. closed the New Hartford facility in June 2014, citing market conditions, while continuing to make them in Asia. More than 40 workers lost their jobs.
Darren Wallace was among a few workers who were retained by Ovation. He kept up part of the plant on his own time with the hope it would reopen someday. Fender sold Ovation in December to Drum Workshop of Oxnard, California.
The new owners have decided to resume production at the plant with Wallace and five other workers, who will be turning out new instruments in a few weeks.
STUDENT LOAN DEBT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Almost 12,000 students are asking the federal government to forgive their college loan debt, asserting their school either closed or lied to them about job prospects.
The figure represents an unprecedented spike in what's called a "borrower's defense" claim following the collapse Corinthian Colleges for-profit college chain, which had become a symbol of fraud in higher education. Under higher education law, students who believe they are victims of fraud can apply to have their loans discharged.
Officials say they know of five or so such cases in the past 20 years; some 4,140 have been filed since the Education Department's June announcement that it would make the debt-relief process easier.
Officials say an additional 7,815 Corinthian students have filed claims for debt-relief because their school closed.
GENERAL MILLS-GREEN GIANT
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- General Mills is selling its Green Giant and Le Sueur vegetable businesses to B&G Foods Inc. for about $765 million in cash.
The transaction includes the Green Giant and Le Sueur businesses in the U.S., Canada and some other markets.
General Mills will still run Green Giant's European business and certain other export markets under license from B&G Foods.
The food company said Thursday that it plans to use net proceeds from the deal to lower debt and buy back stock.
General Mills Inc. anticipates the transaction adding about 5 cents to 7 cents per share to fiscal 2016 earnings, excluding transaction costs and a one-time gain on the sale.
The deal is targeted to close by year's end.
BANGLADESH-FACTORY FIRE CHARGES
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) -- A court in Bangladesh's capital indicted the two owners of a garment factory and 11 others on homicide charges Thursday for a 2012 fire that killed 112 workers.
It is the first time that factory owners have been prosecuted in Bangladesh's lucrative garment industry, the world's second largest after China.
Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akter, the owners of Tazreen Fashions Ltd., pleaded not guilty to the charges. The factory produced clothing for large international retailers including Wal-Mart.
Prosecutor Mizanur Rahman said the judge also indicted 11 factory managers and security guards. Eight of the accused were present in court while five remain at large and will be tried in absentia. The trial will begin Oct. 1, Rahman said.
Prosecutors argued that the owners and the others were responsible for the deaths of the workers because the factory outside Dhaka had no emergency exits and the main exit was locked when the fire broke out in November 2012. The defendants' lawyer argued that the fire was an accident and that they should not be indicted.
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