A speaker during a recent Epicenter event.
Epicenter Memphis has raised $40 million to support entrepreneurs here.
Epicenter is the Cooper-Young-based nonprofit that connects entrepreneurs to resources they need to start, launch, and scale a business. Its headquarters on Cooper was formerly the home of Midsouth Literacy and Cowork Memphis. The Epicenter building also has co-working space.
The fundraising milestone was triggered by an initial $10 million grant by FedEx Corp. that would only be given if Epicenter raised the rest. The money came from philanthropic foundations, economic development organizations, corporations, financial institutions, and individuals.
"This milestone means that many more current and future entrepreneurs in Memphis will have greater access to what they need to launch and grow the businesses of the future, and we’re already seeing some of their success stories being told today,” Epicenter president and CEO, Leslie Lynn Smith said in a statement.
The money will be used to pilot and scale innovative entrepreneurial programming, provide capital resources directly to entrepreneurs, support local partner organizations that serve entrepreneurs, and add industry experts and infrastructure that support the entire local entrepreneurial community and culture, according to Epicenter.
“Entrepreneurs and the businesses they build have the power to transform communities, boost the economy and improve lives,” said Fred Smith, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FedEx Corp. “As a company founded on innovation, FedEx is proud to support entrepreneurs in our hometown of Memphis as they grow and connect communities around the world.”
Epicenter’s ultimate goal is to raise $100 million to fuel a 10-year strategy to increase access to capital, talent, local customers, and technology commercialization in Memphis.