Eric Mathews is a champion for community and entrepreneurial change. Beginning in 2006, he began creating entrepreneurial ecosystem components in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2008, Eric founded Start Co. (formerly called LaunchMemphis and LaunchYourCity, Inc.), the region’s venture development organization where he serves as CEO. Start Co. supports entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of starting up from raw idea through to seed capital. It includes co-working, technical assistance, investment capital, acceleration, and resource cultivation for an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. Prior to these endeavors, Eric was the Associate Director of Corporate Research and Development at the FedEx Institute of Technology. There he grew research programs and business development activities including growing strategic business relationships with Fortune 500 companies. Eric has a B.S. in Chemistry from Rhodes College, and an M.S. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Memphis where he studied artificial intelligence. He has been quoted hundreds of times in many media outlets on building startups as well as the use and influence of innovation in business. With a passion for supporting the arts, Eric currently serves on the following boards: BalletMemphis and Project:Motion. As a voice for change in economic development policy, he serves on the board of the Center City Development Corporation as chairman. In 2012, Eric also served a one year appointment as interim Executive Director of EmergeMemphis the Midsouth’s innovation economy business incubator while still building Start Co. Eric is the author of From Garage to Greatness: Succinct First Steps for Early Stage Entrepreneurs, an accessible book for first time entrepreneurs and those supporting them about how to move from idea to business launch. Eric is an Eagle Scout.