Located in downtown Chattanooga and housed inside the Hamilton County Business Development Center, the Chattanooga Chamber’s INCubator is the largest business incubator in Tennessee and third largest in the United States. Serving as an integral part of Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for more than 30 years, the program provides 127,000 square feet of startup business support aimed at cultivating sustainable enterprises that create jobs for Hamilton County.
Inside the INC, a diverse and multicultural community comes together to advance Chattanooga’s sustainable workforce. Our entrepreneurs come from many backgrounds and industries including tech, manufacturing, food and beverage, and more. These companies become integral parts of our economy, providing good jobs and continued investments in the region.
In fact, a recent survey shows that the INC clients and graduates bring more than $70 million in economic impact for Hamilton County.
Here are some of the diverse entrepreneurs making their mark inside the INC.
ZOE ANGLING GROUP
Jeff Coffey founded the Zoe Angling Group in 2014 after discovering the dark truth of the fly-tying industry overseas, where women and children are trafficked to manufacture flies used by fishermen.
Determined to make a difference, Coffey launched his fair labor, fly tying company under the name Fair Flies. Later, Fair Flies became Zoe Angling Group when Co-Founder and Director of Partnerships and Digital, Chris Allen, joined the team.
Today, Zoe Angling Group partners with worldwide organizations that implement fair trade structures, sustainable practices, and provide living wage jobs to empower employees, prioritize ethical transparency and promote innovation.
Learn more at ZAG.fish.
Founded by Ella Livingston in 2018, Cocoa Asante is a luxury chocolate company that offers bars and bonbons using ethically sourced cacao.
Despite being new in the chocolate industry, Cocoa Asante’s chocolate tradition dates back generations to Livingston’s family cacao farm in Ghana. Livingston’s home country, Ghana, has a reputation for producing the world’s best cacao beans, with more than 70% of the world’s cacao coming from Africa’s west coast.
Cocoa Asante is committed to becoming a bean-to-bar company, allowing them to control the entire production process from the cocoa bean to the final chocolate bar. This control will allow the company to invest more in the cacao-growing communities of Livingston’s home country and ensure customers receive the highest quality chocolate on the market.
By purchasing Cocoa Asante products, chocolate lovers everywhere can support a movement that values sustainability, fair trade and transparency.
Learn more at CocoaAsante.com.
FUSION THREADS COLLECTIVE
As a lifelong seamstress and fair-trade fashion advocate, Mariel Rico founded the sustainable clothing brand – Fusion Threads Co. – in 2018. Prior to starting Fusion Threads, Rico spent five months in Peru working with women artisans under a small fair-trade brand. In 2021, co-owner Audrey Loyd joined the team, bringing her expertise in costume design and dye art.
Fusion Threads collections are designed to be comfortable, easy to wear, beautiful and flattering. The brand uses luxurious natural fibers and low-impact fiber-reactive dyes. Each piece of clothing is stitched twice to ensure longevity, challenging the disposable nature of fast fashion companies.
Fusion Threads also offer made-to-order collections throughout the year because they believe all women are entitled to beautiful clothing that fits their unique shape. Shoppers select their favorite designs and preferred seasonal colorway and input their measurements into the order form. Fusion Threads then crafts the perfect garment for their body, delivering a personalized and sustainable clothing experience.
Learn more at FusionThreadsCo.com.
CHATTANOOGA LEATHER WORKS
Ben Beasley, leathercrafter and founder of Chattanooga Leather Works, is bringing high-quality craftsmanship to the knife sheath industry. The company takes great pride in creating each item as a unique work of art, crafted with care to last a lifetime. Their philosophy is rooted in a deep appreciation for the art of leatherworking, which involves using the finest quality materials and traditional techniques perfected over generations. The result is a range of products that are not only functional but also beautiful and durable.
Chattanooga Leather Works also recognizes the industry’s environmental impact and takes a conscious approach to the production process by minimizing waste and reducing the carbon footprint. Using only ethically sourced leather, they ensure that products are environmentally friendly while maintaining the highest quality.
Learn more at ChattanoogaLeatherWorks.com.
ONE OFF ROBOTICS
Nick Johnson leads a team of skilled engineers at One Off Robotics who recognize the crucial role of robotic fabrication in the modern world. They specialize in developing the world’s most advanced robotic fabrication systems to simplify even the most complex manufacturing problems.
The team builds their customizable digital manufacturing systems on industry-leading motion control platforms, offering several axis configurations with multiple robots. Their systems cover both additive and subtractive manufacturing, with the ability to perform robotic 3D printing, robot machining, and robot CNC trimming and laser cutting. By using these advanced robotic systems, One Off Robotics delivers unparalleled precision and efficiency in fabrication, saving time and money for their clients.
Learn more at OneOffRobotics.com.