Several businesses that grew out of last year’s Startup Week CHA are up and running, and we have the scoop on three of them.
Wait, what’s Startup Week CHA?
It’s a community-driven, weeklong celebration of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and Chattanooga community in general. Read more about it online.
Founders of the Green for Good initiative and Olivine took part in last year’s Recycling Pitch and Pilot program, for which The Company Lab (CO.LAB) partnered with the City of Chattanooga.
Soft Animal’s founder pitched at the 2021 Will This Float?, a pitch competition for early-stage ideas/businesses.
Green for Good, Brian Wright:
What they do: Build culture around recycling in Chattanooga, for Planet and for People.
This initiative aims to create a recycling culture in Chattanooga by tapping into existing resources to target under-recycled items at home, work and school in ways that give back to the community.
To do this, founder Brian Wright partnered with businesses on Main Street to separately collect aluminum under a #CansforHomes Challenge. The program works with the world’s largest aluminum recycler, Novelis, to steer 100% of the resulting aluminum rebates directly to Habitat for Humanity of Chattanooga to help fund its affordable housing projects.
In January 2022, nine businesses recycled more than 9,000 cans, generating $500 to fully fund a Habitat repair project in Chattanooga. Hi-Fi Clyde’s won the challenge, winning Chattanooga Football Club tickets and Green for Good scarves for its staff in recognition.
The initiative also organized a pilot, through the Hefty EnergyBag program, to separately collect hard-to-recycle plastics from 65 households in the Jefferson Heights neighborhood, ensuring 100% of these plastics were diverted from the landfill.
And, thanks to Green for Good, Battle Academy is currently participating in the Trex school outreach program, which — in part — challenges students to compete against other schools in the region to bring in the most plastic bags to be recycled.
Olivine Glass, Chris Greenwood
What they do: Glass is difficult to recycle. Sand is in short supply. Olivine crushes glass into sand.
The Olivine team’s glass crusher — dubbed “Mount Crushmore” — has arrived, and the glass crushing has commenced.
Since mid-January, the team diverted more than 1,000 pounds of glass to a local recycling program and has crushed 660 pounds of glass into sand to be used for gardening and landscaping projects.
Olivine is currently picking up glass from Chattanooga Whiskey, Alleia, Main Street Meats, and Proof Bar and Restaurant, and plans to work with additional restaurants.
Individuals can drop off glass donations at CO.LAB, in the front of the office, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Friday, or at Gaining Ground Grocery Thursday – Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m.
Soft Animal, Charity Painter
What they do: Provide mobile safe spaces where marginalized humans move to the center through curated events.
Named for the Mary Oliver poem, “Wild Geese,” Soft Animal curates events that are inclusive, diverse, safe and fun with a focus on the LGBTQ community, people of color, people with disabilities and other marginalized humans.
After postponing due to COVID-19, Soft Animal celebrated its launch on March 3 at Wanderlinger Brewing Co. Lyricist and hip-hop poet Floami Fly headlined the show, with genre-bending duo KidzinaKorner opening. Chattanooga producer, creative and hitmaker Summer Dregs was the DJ, and Hormona Lisa emceed.
Founders are working with several other organizations, and have additional monthly events in the works.
Chloé Morrison is a communications veteran who spent 14 years as a Chattanooga journalist and now serves as the Director of Communications for The Company Lab.