Our 20 favorite soundbites from 36|86

Written by Sam Zern

For two days, over 1,200 locals and out-of-towners streamed in and out of the bars and music venues along lower Broadway, connecting and experiencing all that Nashville has to offer. No, it wasn’t a sports draft or bridal season – at the Launch Tennessee annual 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival, attendees focused their attention on strategies to help their businesses innovate and thrive. 

With 51 opportunities on the agenda, there was something for every part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. These are some of our favorite quotable moments:

Tips on Creating and Delivering Startup Pitches that Meet Federal Regulatory Requirements

Be Our Guest is a feature on the EC blog highlighting thought leadership from our community - advisors, entrepreneurs, members, and more.

Today’s post is by EC advisor Kevin Christopher. Kevin Christopher is the principal of Rockridge Venture Law, Tennessee's first B Corp® law group and a 2018 Best for the World Honoree for community impact. Kevin is a registered patent attorney, active entrepreneur, and National Science Foundation (NSF) advisor for the research hub Center for Green Solid-State Electric Power Generation and Storage (CEPS). His practice areas include: patent and trademark prosecution, licensing and litigation; corporate law, with an emphasis on benefit corporations, socially responsible businesses and high-growth emergent companies; government contracts, with an emphasis on innovation funding; corporate and investor financing; and, technology commercialization. Kevin is a Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Lawyer, and board member to several environmental and social impact nonprofits.

Navigate 009: Be Bold w/ Pathway Women’s Business Center

One of the best parts of Nashville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is the way organizations work together to connect individuals with the tools that will help them the most.

At the EC, we do this in part through our free Navigation Assessment, which recommends the best resources to help entrepreneurs get where they want to go.

One of the resources we often refer people to is Pathway Women’s Business Center, which provides mentoring, education and other tools to help entrepreneurs across Tennessee, especially women and minority business owners.

How We Failed at a Startup – and what you can learn

Be Our Guest is a feature on the EC blog highlighting thought leadership from our community - advisors, entrepreneurs, members, and more.

Today’s post is by EC advisor Greg Born. Greg began his career as an Air Force Pilot, then held leadership roles in both Operations and Mergers and Acquisitions at businesses such as GE, Oracle, Comcast, as well as a in health and health-tech businesses – including Change Healthcare in Nashville. In all roles, his focus has been improving operational teams, connecting strategy and growth, and leading transformation. Helping it operate better. You can read his other entrepreneurship and leadership articles here.

Meet the Entrepreneurs Pitching at PreFlight Pitch Night

Fourteen weeks ago, over a dozen brave entrepreneurs started our PreFlight class with just an idea. They spent every Monday night learning and working on a business plan, meeting with advisors, and slowly forming that idea into a viable, tangible business. This Thursday, they're ready to pitch their businesses for the first time at PreFlight Pitch Night.

Take a look below at some of the businesses they're working on, and join us on Thursday to hear their pitches, celebrate their successes, and network with the rest of Nashville’s entrepreneurial community.

Navigate Podcast - Episode 6: Funding Early Stage Startups

As a child, Phil Shmerling would scour the newspaper’s stock quotes with his father, investing only in companies he thought were the “coolest” at the time - baseball cards and Toys ‘R Us made the top of the list. While Phil’s financial expertise has greatly matured since then, listening to him describe Nashville’s entrepreneurial spirit, it’s clear his excitement for investing in people he believes in has only amplified with age.

Navigate Podcast - Episode 5: Underestimated Founders and Scaling Tech

Most budding entrepreneurs will look for any and every opportunity to help build their small businesses.

And thankfully there’s a ton of resources out there for startup companies looking to grow - ranging from government grants to pitch competitions with the promise of cash awards or investment funding. In fact, according to data compiled by online database PitchBook, in 2017 alone, venture capitalists gave away $85 billion to independent entrepreneurs.

Unfortunately for small business owners like Shani Dowell only 2.2% of all that money finds its way to female-founded enterprises. Dowell is the creator and CEO of Possip, a platform that simplifies feedback and communication between parents and schools.

Navigate Podcast - Episode 4: For Nashville’s Underestimated Entrepreneurs, There’s Support Around Every Corner

Will and Tiffany Acuff, co-founders of Corner to Corner, modeled their company’s mission after the same lesson - giving back to those around you. The self-described “scrappy” faith-based nonprofit began in 2011 out of their own home with a single purpose - to assist former offenders with finding meaningful employment - and has since grown to provide programming and outreach to multiple communities across Middle Tennessee.

Navigate Podcast - Episode 3: Mignon Francois Shares the Secret Ingredients in her Cupcake Collection

It’s the true story of sweet success, and if you were among the hundreds of hopeful entrepreneurs who joined us at the Entrepreneur Center a few weeks ago for the official launch party of our Navigate podcast, you could just about taste it in the air.

As she took to the stage, Mignon Francois, the woman behind the Cupcake Collection, one of Nashville’s most successful startups, we knew we were in for a real treat. “I don’t know, Clark,” she teased as she slipped a pair of headphones over her ears, then released the first of many wide smiles she would share with us that evening. “This is messing with my afro!”

Navigate Podcast - Episode 2: 5 Tips to Fostering the Right Mentor Relationship

At the height of the economic recession in 2009, Michael Brody-Waite quit his job at a Fortune 50 company to become an aspiring entrepreneur. Looking back now, he humbly admits, he had no idea what he was doing. “I know it says I’m CEO, but I had no idea how to be a CEO, how to [run] the business,” he revealed. “We were creating an industry that had never been done before without any investors or advisors.”

Navigate Podcast - Episode 1: How To Navigate Nashville’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

You know that business plan you have scribbled out on the back of a bar napkin? That Google Drive folder with all those great ideas for startups or tech platforms that will revolutionize an industry? That cool app you always wanted to create... If only you knew, “Where do I start and who do I talk to first?”.

Buckle up and get ready to test-drive Season One of Navigate, a brand-new podcast dedicated to helping budding business owners like yourself maneuver through the myriad of resources that make up Nashville’s fast-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Think of it as your GPS to business success!

Quit Killing Your Team

Most people recognize the importance of hiring. Building something from nothing requires a core team of smart creatives with a deep well of curiosity. These are the innovators who are able to connect ideas between multiple disciplines and offer new ways of looking at the world.

But what’s valued in the hiring process–freethinking, curiosity, creativity–is often forgotten in the day-to-day. And it’s your job to preserve this, for both yourself and your team.

Nashville's Top Entrepreneurs and Startups Recognized at 2018 NEXT Awards + Entrepreneurs' Hall of Fame

The 2018 NEXT Awards + Entrepreneurs' Hall of Fame, held November 7, 2018, at Rocketown celebrated the rebels, visionaries, and game changers who have made a significant impact on the economy in Middle Tennessee. All stages of companies, from emerging startups to well-established market movers, were celebrated during this SOLD OUT event as contributors to making Nashville one of the best cities in the U.S. to start a business.