NEXT Awards 2023: October 23rd, 2023

Schermerhorn Symphony Center

2023 Nominations and Applications Now Open

We are now accepting nominations and applications for exceptional entrepreneurs and companies to be recognized at this year’s NEXT Awards.



  • Headquartered in Middle Tennessee
  • Founder of company must still be actively involved with the company
  • Proven growth, success and some level of scale
  • Must have made a significant impact within past 12 months
  • Must be a for-profit company


Nominate an exceptional founder or company for consideration. If nominated, you must apply in order to be considered.



Applications are open through May 31.

Apply Now




About NEXT Awards

The EC’s NEXT Awards is devoted to recognizing exceptional entrepreneurs transforming their industries and creating opportunities for economic growth both locally in Nashville and beyond.

We bring together entrepreneurs from all over Middle Tennessee to recognize more than a dozen founders and businesses at every stage of the entrepreneurial lifecycle.

The 2022 NEXT Awards & Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame: Celebrating Music City’s unbridled entrepreneurial spirit

Seventeen entrepreneurs and businesses, plus four new Hall of Fame inductees, were honored for their achievements at the 2022 NEXT Awards & Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame on Monday, October 24, 2022, at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

These individuals and companies adapted, grew and created new opportunities for their teams and customers in the past year, helping to transform industries and improve lives both in Middle Tennessee and around the world. Check out the event photos!

Hall of Fame Inductees

Among the night’s highlights was an appearance by country music star Garth Brooks, who welcomed Amy Kurland, founder of Nashville’s iconic Bluebird Café, into the Hall of Fame.

Other 2022 inductees included:

  • André Prince, owner of Nashville’s legendary Prince’s Hot Chicken
  • Mike Shmerling, who founded or co-founded 11 businesses as well as Abe’s Garden Community, a  senior living nonprofit, in honor of his father
  • Steve Turner, founder of MarketStreet Equities Company, who spearheaded the development of The Gulch.

See Hall of Fame

Individual Honors

Meg Epstein, founder of CA South, was named Entrepreneur of the Year, recognizing companies of more than $3 million in annual revenue. CA South develops modern, lifestyle-efficient real estate projects particularly for people moving to Nashville from the coasts.

Amy Green, owner and founder of the Nashville Collaborative Counseling Center, was honored as Emerging Entrepreneur of 2022, an award for businesses of less than $3 million in annual revenue. Her company creates greater access to quality mental healthcare by tailoring individual therapy to those in need.

Business Awards

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

Startups (Annual revenue up to $1 million)



Winnow, led by Paul Vernich and Ray Guzman, manages all aspects of clinical provider recruiting through one platform that targets true matches.


Music, Sports, and Entertainment:

A to Z Sports, led by Austin Stanley and Zach Bingham, is an on-demand sports network covering teams across the country with exclusive content.


Products, Services and Retail:

Walker Brothers, led by Caroline Howard, Sam Walker and Luke Walker, brews open-fermented, unpasteurized kombucha using organic ingredients.


Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction:

Collected, led by Jamie Pfeffer, focuses on thoughtful development projects showcasing transformative design.



Pivot Technology School, led by Joshua Mundy and Quawn Clark, creates career pathways for a diverse demographic by providing education in high-demand technology skills.

Emerging Companies (Annual revenue $1-$3 million)



Decode Health, led by Chase Spurlock and Julia Polk, serves pharmaceutical, diagnostic and technology partners by delivering accurate, reliable insights from large, complex datasets.


Music, Sports, and Entertainment:

Absolutely Ridiculous, led by X (yes, that’s his name), creates unique, innovative baseball and softball gloves and other products.


Products, Services and Retail:

Canvast Supply Co., led by Devin Aracena and Christie Tarleton, develops a range of safe, quality cannabis products through a transparent supply chain starting with the seed.


Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction:

Holladay Ventures, led by Evan Holladay, works with city leaders, impact-driven partners and communities to build attainable, quality housing.



Single Music, led by Tommy Stalknecht and Taylor O’Connor, helps artists, brands and creators use their content to sell more on Shopify.

Market Movers (Annual revenue $3 million+)



Care Harmony, led by Gokul Mohan and Stephen Stewart, focuses on chronic care management services, working with physicians and other healthcare organizations to help them augment care between office visits.


Music, Sports, and Entertainment:

Soundstripe, led by Travis Terrell, makes quality royalty-free music accessible for everyone while supporting artists around the globe.


Products, Services and Retail:

Rootine, led by Rachel Sanders and Daniel Wallerstorfer, sells precision multivitamins and at-home lab tests to achieve optimal health and peak performance for members.


Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction:

Built Technologies, Inc, led by Chase Gilbert and Andrew Sohr, provides construction finance solutions to enable all stakeholders to get the job done faster and more efficiently.



Alto Solutions, Inc, led by Eric Satz, helps clients invest their IRA savings in alternative assets, diversifying their portfolio to reach their financial goals.

Special Thanks

The event could not have been possible without the generous support of our event committee — led by Sherry and Mark Deutschmann— and sponsors.

Presenting Sponsor







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