NEXT Awards &

Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame


The NEXT Awards, hosted by Nashville Entrepreneur Center, is devoted to recognizing exceptional entrepreneurs transforming their industries and creating opportunities for economic growth both locally in Nashville and beyond.

Watch the Highlights




Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2023 inductees included:

  • Jim Ayers acquired Farmers State Bank in Scotts Hill, Tenn., which would eventually become FirstBank, Tennessee’s third-largest bank.
  • Eddie George has an impact that spans beyond the football field into theatrical acting and entrepreneurial work in hospitality, education, wealth management and more.
  • Saurabh Sinha, Founder of Emids, evolved from a web-development services company to a healthcare-focused technology powerhouse with 3,500-plus employees worldwide.
  • Shirley Zeitlin, founded Shirley Zeitlin & Co. Realtors, and grew her firm to 20 Middle Tennessee counties and around the globe through partnerships.

See Hall of Fame

Individual Honors

Brenda Motheral, CEO and co-founder of Archimedes was named Entrepreneur of 2023. As the industry’s leading Specialty Drug Manager, Archimedes provides cost management solutions for specialty drugs across the pharmacy and medical benefit.

Luke Benda, CEO and co-founder of Healing Innovations was named Emerging Entrepreneur of 2023, an award for businesses of less than $3 million in annual revenue. Healing Innovations is a medical technology company that specializes in the neurorehabilitation robotics industry, leading the hardware revolution in healthcare. 

Business Awards

Also recognized were the accomplishments of businesses of various sizes — Startups, Emerging Movers and Market Leaders — in a range of industries.

Startups (Annual revenue up to $1 million)


Products, Services and Retail:

Trace Femcare, Inc., led by Claire Crunk, Megan Galaske and Olaf Isele is innovating at every phase of the period care industry from manufacturing, to complete ingredient transparency to customers. Founder and CEO Claire Crunk and CTO Olaf Isele accepted the award.


Financial Services:

Woorkloop Inc., led by Katy Schmitt, is a one-click payroll and billing platform for service businesses that run on the clocked hourly work of independent contractors.



Thrive Therapies Group, led by Kristin MCGarner and Liz Malugen, provides school-based therapies and services to children with disabilities, removing barriers to academic achievement and wellbeing.


Music, Sports and Entertainment:

Tune Hatch, Inc., led by Christal Hector, Nathan Youseff and Reece Franklin is an online platform that uses analytics and streamlined processes to help independent artists and venues book more profitable shows and fans find the shows they love.



Azra AI, led by Chris Cashwell, provides AI and workflow automation tools to accelerate the identification and treatment of cancer. Used in more than 200 hospitals and cancer centers, Azra AI has delivered clinical, operational, and financial outcomes that help improve Oncology programs.


Real Estate, Construction and Hospitality:

AGB Real Estate, led by Adam Rosenberg, is a trailblazer in the workforce and affordable housing development space by transforming buildings like motels and hotels into new housing havens that address the local housing needs.

Market Movers (Annual revenue $1-$8 million)


Products, Services and Retail:

Daily Crunch, led by Laurel Orley, Dan Stephenson and Diane Orley makes nutrient dense and easy to digest nut snacks bringing innovation to a trusty but dusty category.


Financial Services:

Wealth Access, led by David Benskin, is an enterprise customer data and insights platform that works with financial services’ exisiting books and records to enrich and unify data, generating deep insights that power hyper personalized banking experiences.



RxGenomix, led by Brad Tice, combines proprietary analytics and next-generation genetic testing with the hands-on involvement of a clinical pharmacist to mane truly personalized pharmacy care possible.


Sports, Music and Entertainment:

Genni & Co., led by Johnny Cloherty and Louis O’Reilly, makes creator marketing easy and impactful by creating an ecosystem where both creators and marketers thrive.



Possip, led by Shani Dowell and Christine Fisher, helps over 1,400 school and disctrict leaders across the nation build stronger cultures by elevating the voices of their diverse stakeholders.


Real Estate, Construction and Hospitality:

Holladay Ventures, led by Evan Holladay and Jined Lamata-Holladay, is a real estate development firm, actively addressing the housing crisis by offering sustainable and affordable housing solutions.

Market Leaders (Annual revenue $8 million+)


Products, Services and Retail:

Turnip Truck, led by John Dyke, supplies the local community with organic, natural and healthy living products, while also supporting local small businesses specializing in organic and natural goods.


Financial Services:

Core10, led by Lee Farabaugh and Jeff Hanson, provides community financial institutions (CFI) and fintechs with solutions to reduce manual inefficienies, drive customer growth, and generate revenue opportunities.



ObjectiveHealth, led by Coleen Hoke and Don Lazas, is a premier Integrated Research Organization with 30+ specialty research sites, focusing on high quality patients/data and efficiency in execution of clinical research trials.


Music, Sports and Entertainment:

MooTV, led by Scott Scovill, is a video production company specializing in large music tours and events. Consistently voted best in the touring industry.



FrieghtWise, led by Chris Cochran, Scott Samuelsen and Phil Forte, provides SMB shippers with the ability to control their customer experience, filling a gap in the functional TMS industry.


Real Estate, Construction and Hospitality:

Strategic Hospitality, led by brothers Benjamin and Max Goldberg, is a Nashville-based company that has created one-of-a-kind concepts contributing to the fabric of the city’s dining and culture.

Congratulations to the 2023 NEXT Awards Finalists

The NEXT Awards honors businesses across different industry categories, including: Financial Services (new this year); Healthcare; Music, Sports, and Entertainment; Products, Services, and Retail; Real Estate, Construction, and Hospitality; and Technology.

Meet The Finalists

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Follow the links below for any questions you may have about what to expect at the Awards.


NEXT Finalists

Thank You Sponsors








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