Six years ago, Savannah Manning hadn’t heard of Chattanooga; now she’s starting her own business here.
The 24-year-old has a degree in natural and cultural resources and is raising money via Indigogo to start a local branch of She Moves Mountains, which is a rock climbing guide service that will offer clinics specifically geared toward women.
When Manning was in college in South Georgia, she befriended a “ragtag” group of rock climbers who showed her the ropes when they took her to climb in the Scenic City, which is a popular area for the outdoor sport.
“It was the first time I’d ever had Whole Foods,” Manning, a Georgia Southern University graduate, said. “I was taken aback by Chattanooga as a city. Chattanooga just has this really cool vibe to it. Everybody seemed so happy.”
That’s when she made the decision that one day she’d live here.
Two years later, she’s immersed herself in the local climbing scene and is fundraising to help cover startup costs of her new business, which aims to “an educational space for women to realize their strengths through rock climbing clinics.”
Manning wants to offer five different types of clinics and aims to keep them small—with no more than eight people and two certified guides at a time.
The money she’s raising will help her hire three other employees so they can run two clinics a day on the weekends.
The funds will also help pay for equipment, liability insurance and to develop a new climbing spot where her clients can learn.
“There isn’t a lot of easy stuff to take people to,” she said. “We want to make it more accessible by putting up easier [climbing] routes.”
In addition to clinics for groups, Manning will also private guides during which she takes out one person to teach them.
And, ultimately, she wants the business to grow as a platform to support issues, such as environmental conservation, she said.
“Conservation, for me, is one of the most important things,” she said. “Protection of clean air and water and natural resources is what’s driving me.”
She Moves Mountains is having a meet and greet June 27.
Updated at 3:08 p.m. June 20 to add more information.