Leaders dub Chattanooga “Gig City,” unveil competition to provoke, implement business ideas

Authored By Chloé Morrison

Local leaders announced Wednesday a program that offers up big prizes to the entrepreneur who comes up with the best business idea that utilizes Chattanooga’s unique high-speed Internet capabilities.

Leaders have dubbed Chattanooga “Gig City” and have created the Gig Prize competition, the winner of which will receive a $100,000-cash prize to start the business in Chattanooga.

Alcatel-Lucent is investing the $100,000 for the “The Gig Prize,” Robert Vrij, president of Alcatel-Lucent Americas, announced Wednesday at the chamber’s Spirit of Innovation awards luncheon. 

“We are very pleased to have this level of partnership,” he said. 

The effort is a public-private partnership that aims to create jobs, capitalize on Chattanooga’s Internet services, spur innovative ideas and then implement those ideas in the Chattanooga market.

“It’s not an exercise,”  J.Ed. Marston, vice president of marketing and communications with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, said during the announcement. “It’s an initiative to create real applications, test them in a real community and launch them.”‘

The idea started taking shape after leaders of business incubator Lamp Post Group announced a summer 2012 program for college students.

That program, called Gig Tank, aims to bring the brightest college students from around the country to Chattanooga to help answer the question, “What could you do with the world’s fastest Internet?”

The student who comes up with the best idea about how to utilize the country’s first and only 1-gigabit-per-second Internet network will win a cash prize of $50,000.

Out of that initiative grew the larger idea of Gig City and Gig Prize. 

Leaders also announced winners of the Kruesi Spirit of Innovation Award, which went to Global Green Lighting.

Cumberland Signal Labs won the Early Innovator Award.

Disclosure: Nooga.com is affiliated with the Lamp Post Group. Editorial decisions for Nooga.com are made independent of the Lamp Post Group.