UBS to Support Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Diversity & Inclusion Initiative

April 22, 2016 / Share:

The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) has announced a partnership with UBS to support the organization’s Diversity & Inclusion initiative that began earlier this year. The EC believes in the strategic advantage of the city’s diverse community, and that this is a critical time to align resources to develop and further an inclusive entrepreneurship environment in Nashville. 

UBS’s partnership is part of the company’s longtime support for entrepreneurship. Through UBS Elevating Entrepreneurs – a portfolio of philanthropic programs and partnerships – the firm demonstrates its commitment to bringing the right resources, to the right entrepreneurs, to help spur economic growth. In addition to UBS’s role as lead partner, the EC will continue to receive ongoing support and engagement from Code2040, Google for Entrepreneurs and the Kauffman Foundation.

“At UBS, we are committed to supporting initiatives that drive toward a more inclusive landscape for entrepreneurs everywhere,” said Jamie Sears, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Programs, Community Affairs and Corporate Responsibility, Americas for UBS. “We believe strongly in the leadership role the EC is taking in this space, and we are honored join them on this journey.”

LeShane Greenhill, Founder and CEO of Sagents, a Nashville-based enterprise procurement and supplier diversity management company, was selected in partnership with Code2040 as the EC’s Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). As EIR, LeShane will work within the community to bring more access and opportunities to diverse entrepreneurs while continuing to grow a successful company in the city. After numerous discussions with community leaders, LeShane, alongside Kelli Nowers, EC Community Director and the Center’s representative for the initiative, has developed the following goals for the next 12 months:

  • A Scholarship Program: 15 scholars will be selected across this year’s three PreFlight program sessions. The scholarships awarded will be: Minority Founder, Female Founder, Student Ambassador, Veteran Entrepreneur  and Social Impact Entrepreneur

  • Quarterly speaker series in partnership with Nashville’s Entrepreneur Organization (EO) chapter, highlighting women and minority business owners addressing topics related to diversity and inclusion in Nashville

  • Internship Placement and Job Shadowing programs for local high school and college students

  • A Hackathon in collaboration with Nashville-area Historically Black Colleges and Universities

The EC also announced the Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board, a group of leaders in Nashville representing diverse backgrounds, expertise and perspectives. The board’s purpose is to provide insight, guidance and connections that will enable success in the goals set out by initiative leaders.  Advisors include: Ayumi Bennett, Founder of Startup Southerner; Elliot Holt, Founder & CEO of Medi-Copy Services Inc.; Jose Gonzalez, Co-Founder of Conexion Americas; Jana Parham, Senior Vice President, Wealth Management Americas, UBS; Kris Elliot, Director of STEM at MNPS; Lisa Howe, Executive Director at Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce; Marcus Whitney, President of JSF and Founder of The Unlikely Co.; Mohamed-Shukri Hassan, Executive Director, New American Development Center.

“Diversity and Inclusion is not just a phrase, it is an action,” states Greenhill.  “As the CODE2040 and Google for Entrepreneurs representative, I look forward to working with the EC and UBS to foster engagement and create resources for underrepresented communities in technology.”

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to expand the CODE2040 Residency thanks to our partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs.  Our expanded work with Google for Entrepreneurs, the Residency, and the local tech hubs will create opportunities to support local tech ecosystems in their quest and create more opportunity for current and future entrepreneurs of color,” said Laura Weidman Powers, CODE2040 CEO and Co-founder.

More information including diversity scholarship applications for PreFlight Session 2 (now open) can be found at

Photos by Walker Leigh Photography

About the Nashville Entrepreneur Center:

The EC, with offices at 41 Peabody Street in the Rutledge Hill area, was founded as aneconomic development initiative of the Nashville business community with a vision to become the best place in America for entrepreneurship. Its mission is to connect entrepreneurs with the critical resources to create, launch and grow businesses.

The EC fosters innovation and entrepreneurship by helping to start businesses and create jobs. As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, the Center is funded through sponsorships, partnerships, donations and grants. The EC relies on support from leading corporations, successful entrepreneurs and those who have a vested interest in the Center’s success. For more information, visit our website at



UBS is committed to providing wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland, with superior financial advice and solutions while generating attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders. Its strategy centers on its Wealth Management and Wealth Management Americas businesses and its leading universal bank in Switzerland, complemented by its Asset Management business and its Investment Bank. These businesses share three key characteristics: they benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital-efficient, and offer a superior structural growth and profitability outlook. UBS’s strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates. Capital strength is the foundation of its success.

Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, UBS has offices in more than 50 countries, including all major financial centers, and approximately 60,000 employees. UBS Group AG is the holding company of the UBS Group. Under Swiss company law, UBS Group AG is organized as an Aktiengesellschaft, a corporation that has issued shares of common stock to investors. The operational structure of the Group comprises the Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank.

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