Nashville Entrepreneur Center Interview

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Nashville entrepreneur center interviewees
John Murdock, COO(left) and Jermey Raley, Director of Programs(right) of Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Do you own a small business that you want to get off the ground? Are you an entrepreneur with big ideas? Maybe, you’re even fearful of starting an new business? If so, we’ve got the answers for you! Recently, Jayson got to sit down with a few guests from the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, John Murdock, COO, and Jermey Raley, Director of Programs. Those who might be unfamiliar the EC is a nonprofit organization connecting entrepreneurs with critical resources to create launch and grow businesses. If you are a business owner and want to connect or an entrepreneur looking for new opportunities, you’ve got an amazing resource right here in Nashville.

Lightning loves connecting organizations like this nonprofit to help local businesses; here are some highlights from DJ Jayson’s interview.  

  • Q: John, what is the EC, and how long has it been around?

The Nashville Entrepreneur Center is a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 to support people and businesses through all phases of the entrepreneurial life cycle. Since 2010, the EC has served over 10,000 entrepreneurs and graduated more than 800 alumni from high-touch programs. 

  • On average, 84% of the high touch alumni are still in operation today, much higher than the industry standard of 50% or less. 
  • EC alumni have raised more than $233M in capital and generated more than $192M in revenue with successful exits $100M. 
  • Q: Tell us about what services the EC offers.

The Nashville Entrepreneur Center serves and supports Nashville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

  • At the EC, they connect entrepreneurs with resources such as industry experts, successful entrepreneurs, service providers, educational programming, advisors, workspace, and potential investors/customers. 
  • By fueling the entrepreneurial life cycle—from helping people explore the first stages of an idea all the way to creating avenues for successful founders to give back—the EC acts as the steward of Nashville’s entrepreneurial legacy. 
  • Q: Jeremy, who are some of the current business/founders in your programs?

Being an entrepreneur is a difficult and often lonely journey. We’re here to support entrepreneurs by connecting them with the critical resources to create, launch, and grow their businesses.

  • One story that represents the entrepreneurial story is Shani Dowell. Dowell is the founder of Possip, and she had a full-on career in the education space, and she saw a problem. Parents and teachers were not healthily exchanging feedback and, it would often lead to poor relationships, animosity, and ultimately, the children were not having a good experience. So with the help of the EC, Dowel launched Possip as a full-on platform. This program was so successful, and Possip continued to grow. She needed to raise money along the way and she became the first black woman in Tennessee to raise a million dollars, and she did that with a lot of support from the EC community. Since then, she’s gone on to raise more money partly with Google startups for their black Founders fund, which is a really amazing program. 
  • Q: Considering how COVID has impacted our industry, what is the EC doing to help businesses struggling to stay alive?
  • Right now, we are signing up Davidson County business that who’ve been negatively affected by COVID to a program called Renew Nashville. Business owners can take connect with experts to get help with things like Digital marketing, Financial modeling, Video marketing, Branding, using LinkedIn, to recruit, Touchless customer interactions, How to pivot your food business, Business strategy, Engaging remote teams and more. Sign up at ec.co/renew-nashville.

Be sure to check out the full interview to learn more about the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Big thank you to John Murdock and Jermey Raley for sitting down with Lightning 100 and teaching us about the EC. For more ways to get involved, visit the EC’s website here

Written by: Madison Sharp

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