The Cumberland Ignite Lab is a central meeting space for businesses and business owners to share information, learn and work with other owners and professionals. The venture is a partnership with Cumberland University, the city of Lebanon and Historic Lebanon to create a co-working and entrepreneur space in an underutilized Lebanon Square building.
Historic Lebanon executive director Kim Parks said the goal of the Cumberland Ignite Lab is for entrepreneurs to bring best ideas and help them turn ideas into successful business plans and launch a business.
“We want to help people really understand what it takes to start a business and be successful,” Parks said.
“Our hope is to connect people, resources and information together and help turn ideas into a reality,” said Sarah Haston, Lebanon economic development director.
Haston discussed the major impact local entrepreneurs have had on Lebanon, Wilson County and the country.
“Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in our community growth and our economic vitality. Entrepreneurship is something that Lebanon can be very proud of and has been for awhile,” Haston said.
Haston named several local entrepreneurs who have made a major impact, including Danny Evins, Ken Lester, the Bone family, H.K. Edgerton, Charles Bell, Bill Clay, Charlie Bay and Randall Clemons.
“When we say those names, it doesn’t take long for that emotion to resonate how impactful economic development and entrepreneurship is to a community,” Haston said. “These are names that have helped shape our community and have made significant impact, not only in Lebanon, Wilson County and southeastern region, but nationally.”
Bob Rolfe, Tennessee Economic and Community Development commissioner, discussed the potential any entrepreneurial idea has on the world.
“The greatest entrepreneurial success story that is a global brand is down in Memphis, Tennessee and is called FedEx. They operate all over the globe, but as we all know the story. It was an entrepreneurial story like none other,” Rolfe said.
Ignite centers are also currently in Memphis, Nashville, Jackson, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
The center will offer a series of training classes for entrepreneurs, programming designed around various business issues, leadership development programming, a mentorship program and possibly a youth entrepreneurship program.