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VOL. 129 | NO. 54 | Wednesday, March 19, 2014

EmergeMemphis Unveiling New Look, Plan

By Andy Meek

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EmergeMemphis, the organization formed in 2001 that serves as an incubator for high-growth companies, is preparing to roll out a new logo and a new brand image as it lays out its plan for the next few years.

Leading that work is Carlton Crothers, who’s served as the CEO of EmergeMemphis for a little less than a year. He came into the job in 2013 with a grand vision of “creating an innovation ecosystem” in Memphis, and that’s still his North Star – and something that will be a theme next month when he unveils the future direction of his organization.

EmergeMemphis is preparing to roll out a new logo and a new brand image as it lays out its plan for the next few years.

(Daily News File/Lance Murphey)

During an informal cocktail hour April 10 at EmergeMemphis, everyone in attendance will get to “take a look forward.” For an audience that will include member companies and patrons, Crothers will give a tip of the hat to current EmergeMemphis supporters and past sponsors, plus debut a refreshed logo for the organization.

He’ll also be talking about the future, which in broad terms involves helping “align Memphis so that it becomes the innovation hub of the Mid-South.”

“One of the purposes of the event is to recognize the accomplishments of our companies that have graduated in the past – companies like Obsidian, RedRover and Carter Malone,” Crothers said. “They’ve been here, graduated and are now doing well in the Memphis economy.”

One of the latest graduates is Signal Flow PR, a boutique media PR firm that moved into EmergeMemphis in 2012. A few weeks ago the company graduated from out of EmergeMemphis into its own storefront in the South Main neighborhood.

“Another thing we’ll be doing is recognizing our past contributors who have helped make this happen in Memphis over the years and to set the stage for a new direction for Emerge,” Crothers continued. “We also want to see how EmergeMemphis can be a catalyst for the South Main neighborhood. We’re one of the larger organizations in the South Main economy, and we want to be more engaged here. We’ll also talk about how EmergeMemphis, Memphis Bioworks and Start Co. will be more aligned.”

Thirty-two companies are currently housed at EmergeMemphis, and 88 have come and gone through the incubator’s doors since its inception. Along with helping those companies along a path toward growth, EmergeMemphis looks to provide services to members that accelerate their development and helps recruit new companies and talent to Memphis, among other things.

Crothers himself was a recruit to the city. He came to EmergeMemphis from Innovation Ecosystem Design in Dallas, with a long career of entrepreneurship-related efforts behind him. He joined the organization to fill the role when Eric Mathews stepped down to focus on his leadership of the entity now known as Start Co.

As a recruit to the city, Crothers admittedly brought fresh eyes and an outside perspective, but his opinion about the city hasn’t changed. He has “nothing but great things to say about Memphis.”

“I don’t know what all the negativity is about. I just don’t see it,” he said. “I see opportunities we still haven’t leveraged yet. Memphis is so full of culture and soul. The music, the people, the attitude – everyone is willing to meet with you and hear what you have to say, and I find that refreshing.”

PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108