Leslie Lynn Smith, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and business development leader, joined Epicenter in Memphis, Tenn., as its first president and CEO in 2015. The Memphis region has a connected and collaborative entrepreneurship ecosystem led by Epicenter, the nonprofit hub of the greater Memphis entrepreneurial movement. Using a systems approach, Epicenter drives strategy and measures impact among a network of economic development, academic, corporate, and government partners to increase support to new and existing tech startups, creative and community-based businesses student entrepreneurs, and others across industries and stages of growth. Epicenter and its partners connect these entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas to programming, capital,
customers, and talent in order to create a just, inclusive, and growing economy that accrues to all Memphians.
Smith’s role in Memphis comes after five years of successful entrepreneurial leadership as president and CEO of TechTown, Detroit’s most established business incubator and accelerator. Under Smith’s leadership, TechTown created and launched novel urban economic development programs, expanded tech-based company creation and launched robust regional entrepreneurship collaborations with great and measurable impact. Previously, she was director of business acceleration for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, overseeing the state’s $300 million start-up investment portfolio and managing the statewide innovation economy and its network of ecosystem
partners, including 15 research universities, incubators, accelerators and the philanthropic and private sectors.
Smith’s current board service includes InBIA, Center for American Entrepreneurship, and Memphis Fourth Estate, Inc.