Students + Startups

Printing four of his newest résumés, Obed Tandadjaja was prepared when he attended the Students + Startups event at the fifth floor of The Edney last Wednesday. Rows of college students—about a fourth of whom were from Covenant—were already there, along with director and assistant director of the Center for Calling and Career John Plating and Leda Goodman.

The event, held by The Company Lab (Co.Lab) is a mixer that aims to connect college students and Chattanooga’s leading startups.

The event began with each startup presenting a short gig about their goals, needs, and open internship and collaborating positions. A.I.R. Labs started the series of presentations. The line-up included Bellhops, Feminology,, Panoram Imports, and several others.

Afterwards, the floor is opened for dinner and mingling opportunities. Each company, enthusiastic for extra-hands, opens up a booth. This also allows students to better understand the company and possible opportunities. Many business cards and résumés are exchanged.

During the event, several Covenant students were seen accepting guests. Co.Lab has not only connected students to startups, but has recruited students to intern for them as well.

The pool of 12 start-ups wasn’t satisfactory for some students, but for others it is a gold mine of connections.

Tandadjaja, a Computer Science major, said, “Surprisingly, there is only one company that offers an internship for software development. The rest has hired their own software developers.”

On another note, Christina Schuman, a senior English Major, enjoyed the event. “I just came and talked to a lady, and it turns out we can both help each other with something,” she said. “I’m going to help [their company] with photographing some stuff, and she’s going to help me with my branding.”

“It’s also cool just to know what’s going on around Chattanooga,” Schuman added.

Co.Lab is a non-profit organization supporting the growth of startups in southeast Tennessee. One of its prominent programs is Co.Starters, a nine-week program equipping entrepreneurs to turn ideas into sustainable businesses. Other programs include Co.Lab accelerator, GIGTANK 365, and Pitch Competitions.

In the past, the Center for Calling and Career has collaborated with Co.Lab to develop the Seed Project Pitch Competition. Last fall, Co.Lab has helped prepare the ground for the Seed Project by giving Covenant students an ideation workshop called Germination Generator.

This spring, Leda Goodman will teach a Co.Starters class with Co.Lab’s curriculum to prepare for the Seed Project Pitch Competition next fall.