Nashville Entrepreneur Center Opens Nominations Process for Annual Next Awards

June 22, 2021 / Share:

Middle Tennessee founders and entrepreneurs will be awarded and recognized for their impact on the greater Nashville area at this year’s Next Awards Ceremony

Nashville, Tenn. (June 21, 2021) – The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (NEC), has announced that applications and nominations are now open for the Next Awards, the NEC’s annual awards ceremony that recognizes founders in Middle Tennessee that are transforming their industries, creating opportunities and improving lives in Nashville and beyond. This year’s event is co-chaired by successful Nashville entrepreneurs Sherry and Mark Deutschmann and will take place on October 25, 2021 at the Nashville Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The event will also induct honorees into the Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame for their life-long contributions to Nashville. Tickets will be available for purchase at the end of August.

Online industry applications and individual nominations are now open and will close on July 26.

The Next Awards will recognize 10 founders and their companies in the following industry categories:

  • Products, Services, and Retail: Businesses offering goods and services that target a consumer or business market.
  • Healthcare – Businesses operating in any area of the healthcare industry.
  • Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction – Businesses innovating in any areas of the real estate, hospitality, or construction industry
  • Music, Sports, and Entertainment – Businesses operating in any area of the entertainment, sports, and media industries.
  • Technology – Businesses driving growth in the technology industry.

Each industry category will have two winners – an Emerging Business (companies with less than $1 million in annual revenue) and a Market Mover (companies with $1 million or more in annual revenue). Companies in both categories must be headquartered in Middle Tennessee and have a founder actively working in the business.

Additionally, the NEXT Awards will honor two innovative founders across all industries with:

  • Entrepreneur of 2021 Award: Qualifying nominees will be active founders of companies making more than $1 million in annual revenue.
  • Emerging Entrepreneur of 2021 Award: Qualifying nominees will be active founders of companies making less than $1 million annually.

Both Entrepreneur of 2021 awards will be selected by nomination only, which can be submitted here.

“The NEC team is here to serve the entire entrepreneurial community and we’re excited to host this year’s annual Next Awards, an opportunity to come together and recognize some of our city’s incredible entrepreneurs,” said Jane Allen, CEO of the NEC. “It’s been a challenging year and we look forward to honoring these leaders and their inspiring efforts throughout our community.”

Industry applications are evaluated by an independent accounting firm based on quantitative data. The top-ranked applications are then sent to an expert panel of independent judges. Rankings are averaged, and the top finalists in each category are notified in early August before tickets go on sale to the general public.

Individual award nominations are evaluated by an independent selection committee who will determine the top founders to be interviewed. Only nominated entrepreneurs will be considered for these awards – there is no additional application process.

To learn more about the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and its programs, click here.
To fill out an application for the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Next Awards, click here.
To nominate a founder for the Next Awards, click here.

About Nashville Entrepreneur Center
The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) founded in 2010 by business leaders who wanted to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and to celebrate the spirit and tenacity of the entrepreneurial community. The EC serves as Nashville’s center for entrepreneurship, supporting visionaries—from every background, in any industry, and at all phases—by connecting them to critical resources and championing their desire to change the world. Learn more about the EC by following us @entrecenter on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at

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