At the conference, there’s a chance for area entrepreneurs to get headshots made in the library’s studio. (Photo: Contributed)

The Chattanooga Public Library’s upcoming Creative Entrepreneurs Conference aims to provide practical resources to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“It really came about because the library loves to work with local businesses and provide a platform where they can give back to their community,” library experience designer and coordinator Megan Emery said.

Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial tech scene attracts attention and publicity, but there are countless other small businesses in the city that can get resources from the library.


The upcoming free conference will showcase some of those resources and allow small businesses, such as one-person companies, to get feedback from other locals who have found success. The daylong conference is also a chance for local entrepreneurs to show others what they do to benefit their community, Emery said.

“I would love to see people leave this conference not just with great information about how to succeed as a business, but also having been struck by the fact that every presenter we have—part of their success we attribute to giving back,” she said.

For example, representatives from Mad Priest Coffee are giving one of the keynotes. Founders Michael Rice and his wife Cherita launched the business, in part, as a way to use coffee to empower area refugees by providing them with better jobs.

The conference also developed, in part, out of work the library has done with online commerce website Etsy to help small businesses and entrepreneurs. Library leaders have gotten strong, positive responses to smaller events that offered resources so they decided to expand it and provide more.

The conference has five tracks: community investment, marketing, self-care and wellness as a business practice, Etsy, and growth.

Throughout the day, attendees can come and go from the more than a dozen different sessions.

At the end of the day, the final presentation will focus on taking all the information from the conference and understanding practical ways to translate to success.

Each conference presenter has also agreed to donate a free hour of consultation to attendees who win a drawing.

The library’s event is also an effort to be responsive to community needs, Emery said.

Anyone who wants to attend is encouraged to register ahead of time.

To see the list of presenters or to register, click here. Attendees can also register by calling 423-643-7700.

Check out the event schedule below.

4th-Floor event space

  • 8-8:30 a.m.: Wake Up with Shush Café: Networking & Mad Priest Coffee
  • 8:30-9:30 a.m.: Keynote opener: Mad Priest—Using Business to Find Creative Solutions to Problems in Our Community
  • 9:35-10:35 a.m.: Envivo Creative—How to Use the Power of Social Media to Attract Customers and Fans
  • 10:40-11:40 a.m.: VaynerMedia—Social Marketing at Scale
  • 11:40 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Lunch break
  • 12:45-1:45 p.m.: Green Spaces—Unleash the Power of Your Business as a Force for Good with green|light and B Corps
  • 1:50-2:50 p.m.: Wildflower Tea Shop & Apothecary—Balancing Act: Running a Business And Taking Really Good Care of You
  • 2:50-3:20 p.m.: Chamber of Commerce refreshment break
  • 3:20-4:20 p.m.: The Company Lab—The One-Hour Co.Starters Experience
  • 4:25-4:55 p.m.: Keynote finale: Temperate & Courageously Loving You—Success: You Already Have It
  • Prize drawing will follow the keynote final

4th-Floor maker space

  • 9:35-10:35 a.m.: Kevin Bate—Starving is Not Art
  • 10:40-11:40 a.m.: Ella Chattanooga—Beyond Convenience: Creating Healthy Communities
  • 12:45-1:45 p.m.: Brunch Collective/The Chattery—Together Forever? Choosing the Right Business Partner
  • 1:50-2:50 p.m.: 4th Floor Photography Lab—headshot studio
  • 3:20-4:20 p.m.: Team Etsynooga—annual team meeting

1st-floor auditorium:

  • 9:35-10:35 a.m.: Chattanooga Market—Selling at the Chattanooga Market
  • 10:40-11:40 a.m.: Courageously Loving You—Avoid Burnout Like a Boss
  • 12:45-1:45 p.m.: Pasha Salon—Trusting Your Internal Compass
  • 1:50-2:50 p.m.: Indigo Tangerine—Up Your Etsy SEO Game
  • 3:20-4:20 p.m.: Bailey Walton Design—A Work Space Design that Inspires