Brandon Tiede of ToolGard took home first place at a recent LAUNCH business pitch competition. LAUNCH helps entrepreneurs in a variety of ways, and there is an upcoming business class that has open enrollment now. (Photo: Rebecca Feldbin)

Picture this: You’re taking your morning shower, and all of a sudden, a brilliant business idea pops into your mind. But you don’t have any experience in entrepreneurship, and you definitely don’t know how to make the vision a reality. 

Local nonprofit LAUNCH can help. 

The local organization that aims to empower community members through entrepreneurship, job training and mentorship is starting another session of its Business Entrepreneurship Academy. 

The academy is a 10-week class that teaches budding entrepreneurs how to start their own businesses.

There are multiple class locations around Chattanooga, and classes start Sept. 14. It costs $100 to participate, according to LAUNCH’s website

Click here for more information about the academy or to sign up. 

Local entrepreneur and inventor Felicia Jackson recently went through the LAUNCH class. She’s created a product called CPR Lifewrap, which is a disposable plastic sleeve that covers the torso of a person in need of CPR.

It has a mouth barrier-which guards against bodily fluids that can be exchanged during mouth to mouth-and an outline that shows the user where to place hands for proper CPR execution. It also has simple instructions embossed on the product. 

The LAUNCH class gave her the support and knowledge she needed to get her product off the ground, and even after her graduation, she is still getting assistance and advice from LAUNCH leaders, she said. 

“When I walked through those doors [for the LAUNCH class], I had an idea and a hope,” she said. “When I graduated, I had a prototype, media exposure and a newfound recognition of what my potential could be.” 

She encouraged anyone with an idea to take advantage of the class, which also helped bring her out of her introverted shell. She also found strength and encouragement from her classmates, she said.

“If you’re passionate about something, [LAUNCH leaders] will make you more passionate tenfold,” she said.
“[The other students] get invested in your idea. You become a family.” 

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