Gubernatorial candidates will talk tech, innovation at entrepreneurship festival Aug. 30

Gubernatorial candidates will talk tech, innovation at entrepreneurship festival Aug. 30

Tennessee gubernatorial Republican nominee Bill Lee and Democratic nominee Karl Dean will participate in technology and innovation fireside chats at 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival, the Southeast’s premier event for founders, investors and startup ecosystem builders on Aug. 30  in Nashville.

Lee and Dean became Tennessee gubernatorial nominees for their respective parties following the state’s primary election on Thursday, Aug. 2. Lee won the GOP nomination with 37 percent of the vote, over opponents including Knoxville businessman Randy Boyd, U.S. Rep. Diane Black and Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell. Dean carried approximately 75 percent of the vote over Tennessee House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh for the Democratic nomination.

At 36|86, the candidates will address more than 1,000 attendees on the future of technology and business development in Tennessee, making it one of their first and largest appearances since being nominated. The candidate discussions will be moderated by Kate Herman, president and publisher of the Nashville Business Journal.

“It’s an honor and privilege to host Tennessee’s gubernatorial candidates Bill Lee and Karl Dean at 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival later this month,” said LaunchTN CEO Charlie Brock. “Over the years, Tennessee has established itself as one of the friendliest states to start and grow a business, and 36|86 is the ideal place to hear our next governor’s plan for carrying Tennessee’s robust technology industry and entrepreneurial ecosystem into the future.”

GOP nominee for governor Bill Lee is a Williamson County businessman and owner of Lee Company, a Nashville-based heating and air, plumbing and electrical business. A political outsider, Lee has never held public office, and the Tennessee governor’s race is his first ever political campaign.

Democratic nominee Karl Dean is a former mayor of Nashville and Davidson County public defender. In November, Dean hopes to be the first Democrat to win a statewide election in over a decade.

Tickets for 36|86 are available for purchase at Entrepreneur passes are available for $199, ecosystem support passes for $299 and investor and VIP passes for $399. Joint tickets can also be purchased for 36|86 and Health:Further, an annual conference focused on the future of health.

About Launch Tennessee

Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership that fosters entrepreneurship, with the goal of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the country. Launch Tennessee partners with Entrepreneur Centers in six different regions, providing access to technology skills development, capital formation, entrepreneurial resources and more for high-growth startups. Visit to discover what makes Tennessee the best place for innovative tech companies.

About The Author

Brooke Wanser is the associate editor for the Franklin Home Page, and can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @BWanser_writes or @FranklinHomepg.

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