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The 24 Hour Generator

Over the past few years, we’ve seen Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial bend take off in our schools. There’s the Teacherpreneur Incubator, of course, but look at the partnerships with organizations like LAUNCH and their high school entrepreneurship program or BrightSpark’s design thinking renaissance and events like Green Sparks, their competition in collaboration with green|spaces. Take the educators who have embraced the startup ethos in developing opportunities for their students - like Surge, the STEM School’s business competition for teams of high school seniors kicking off on January 12th, and Red Bank High’s scientific research class, which recently pitched a public park concept to the Mayor, Commissioners and their School Board member.

How does a startup community impact education? You don’t have to look too hard for examples in the Gig City. But what if we flipped the question - are there still examples? Beyond developing a talent pipeline, have our schools had a direct impact on our startup community? I think, for Chattanooga, the answer is still absolutely, yes.

The 24Hour Generator, now in its third year and launching again March 10th, is a reverse pitch competition specifically designed to answer pressing questions for local startups. Leveraging the collective brainpower, creativity and grit of young women from diverse backgrounds, the Generator brings together talented teams of high school girls, who work with mentors for an intense twenty-four hour period to develop creative solutions. As a partnership between CO.LAB, PEF and GPS, and as part of the Mad, Bad and Dangerous conference celebrating women in entrepreneurship, the competition is open to female high school students - enrolled in public, private or homeschool - from across the southeast.

And did we mention we’re recruiting? Entrepreneurship isn’t an opportunity just for class presidents and straight-A students - in fact, it’s often students in need of an outlet for their particular interests, talents and creativity who thrive in these startup experiences. And, thanks to our sponsors, their are no costs for participants - transportation, meals and swag will all be provided.

The 24Hour Generator is a lock-in held on GPS’s campus, with all-female mentors, chaperones and security, culminating in a public pitch for prizes on March 11th! Students will work in diverse teams on the unique challenges facing our startup community. Participating students have also received internships with the companies for whom they’ve pitched, and we’ve seen long-lasting friendships blossom between girls who would likely have never met.

Do you know someone who sounds like a fit? The Generator is taking recommendations and applications through mid-February - check out (or point your students towards) and look for updates here at the Innovation Hub as we get closer to MBD!

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