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DIG the Innovators is a bi-weekly brief on the latest and greatest from leading brands and fiercely ambitious entrepreneurs across the South. These are the people and companies who make our #SucceedInTheSouth motto ring true. 

Accelerator Opportunities Abound

The BridgeCommunity, an Atlanta-based startup commercialization program founded by Coca-Cola, has officially opened applications for its second cohort. From April to October, a select group of fintech, consumer engagement, and IoT startups will gain access to major corporations including Coca-Cola, COX Enterprises, InterContinental Hotels Group, The Weather Company, Porsche Financial Services, and Capgemini, all seeking to run pilots and enter licensing agreements during the program. During last year’s inaugural program, 10 startups collaborated with 5 corporations, resulting in 9 pilots and proof-of-concepts. The participating startups also hired 32 new employees, experienced an average increase of 150% in month over month revenue, and raised $2.9M in VC funding. The BridgeCommunity plans to significantly increase the number of participants in this year’s program and is accepting applications until March 28. You can read more about the program from our friends at Hypepotamus here.

Up the road in Knoxville, the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) and Three Roots Capital (3Roots) have joined forces to launch the UTRF Checkerboard Portfolio, an accelerator program for University affiliated startups. This new partnership will focus primarily on providing access to capital for entrepreneurs looking to commercialize UTRF technology.


High-growth startups can also apply to pitch to a crowd of top-notch investors during DIG ICON. Submit your company by March 10


And in North Carolina, high growth startups can apply for the spring 2017 NC IDEA grant cycle as well as a spot in their two competitive accelerator programs. Groundwork Labs is a three-month program for pre-seed startups, and SoarTriangle is an accelerator for women entrepreneurs. Since launching in 2006, NC IDEA has provided nearly $5 million in funding to 114 North Carolina-based startups across a wide array of industries. Applications are open until March 13.

Work, Work, Work…in North Carolina 

California-based global call center operator Alorica plans to add another 600 full-time jobs at its High Point location. The company previously announced 800 new jobs at their customer engagement service office, bringing North Carolina hires to 1,400. Operator, oh could you help me place this…job?

European grocery chain Lidl is coming stateside, with plans to test thirteen initial stores in cities across North Carolina. The specialty discount grocer has officially begun hiring for about 800 NC-based jobs, intending to have all of the positions filled by early summer. Promotion on Aisle 3.


Looking for a new career opportunity? Connect with employers from across the region during DIG ICON, April 25-27


Ft. Lauderdale-based software giant Citrix plans to add 400 jobs at their Raleigh location. The company has experienced three global layoffs since 2012, yet in that same time, their North Carolina employment has grown from 153 to 789. State-provided incentives require Citrix to offer these 400 additional jobs at a minimum average annual salary of $65K; the company says it plans to start offers at at least $73K. Cue the Raleigh Zillow searches.

Corning Inc. is on track to add 410 jobs at two Charlotte-area locations. The optical company will spend $176 million to develop a new optical cable plant in Catawba County and to expand its existing optical fiber facility in Cabarrus County.

Bienvenidos a Barcelona, Southerners
Speaking of Citrix and Corning, the two companies are in Barcelona this week for Mobile World Congress, a massive global gathering celebrating – you guessed it – all things mobile. Citrix’s Raleigh, NC neighbor Red Hat is brushing up on their Spanish this week, too.

Several Georgia organizations are sipping sangria and repping all that the state has to offer in mobile innovation. Mobile Atlanta, the Alpharetta Technology Commission, Georgia Institute of Technology, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and Invest Atlanta are all exhibitors at MWC.

Florida’s public-private economic development agency, Enterprise Florida, is also rubbing elbows with big brands like Netflix, Twitter, and Amazon during the global convening this week. Here’s hoping they bring back Nokia 3310s for everyone in Florida…

There you have it. Are you diggin’ other Southern innovators lately? We’d love to hear about it! Give us a shout on Twitter.

Photo credit: Mirror.co