Our Story

Founded in 2010. Grounded by our values, we’re on a mission to increase the likelihood of success for entrepreneurs.

10 Year Video

We’re proud to be a steward of Nashville’s entrepreneurial legacy by lifting the entrepreneur’s voices and telling stories that celebrate how they make our world better and teach others as they give back — keeping the cycle of entrepreneurialism alive.

A Diverse Community of Innovators

Great ideas are everywhere, but that the opportunity to turn those ideas into reality is not equally accessible to all. 

We level the playing field by creating onramps to opportunity.

Entrepreneurship should be accessible to everyone, and we are working towards the day when every entrepreneur – regardless of race, gender, income or background – has the opportunity to realize their dream.

Why? To fuel economic inclusion in Nashville.

Because we believe that:

  1. Every person with an entrepreneurial mindset and a good idea deserves a (credible) opportunity to create, launch and grow their business.
  2. The future of our city depends on our ability to grow successful entrepreneurs, regardless of race, gender, income or zip code.
  3. Entrepreneurship powers the spirit of independence and vibrancy that makes Nashville special.

Beliefs in Action:

Since 2016, the EC has offered diversity scholarships for our PreFlight program to entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds and for women founders, veteran entrepreneurs, founders of color, LGBTQIA+ founders, student ambassadors and foreign-born founders.

In 5 years, we’ve awarded 92 scholarships. In 2020, we’ve expanded scholarships to cover all of our programs. EC scholars have gone on to create 40 jobs in the Nashville community.


Learn more about Scholarships


Learn more about Twende


Learn more about Google for Startups


Learn more about Black Founders Accelerator & Fund

Our History


Partnership 2010 initiative of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce brought together a 75-member Entrepreneurship Task Force charged with analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of Middle Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, benchmarking against peer communities and identifying opportunities for greater support. 

Task force presented its recommendations in 2008.

EC launched as an official 501(c)3.

The EC became the front door for entrepreneurs aspiring to create companies in Nashville with the opening of its flagship facility at 105 Broadway in August of 2010. 

Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame launched.

Co-created and hosted first NEXT Awards

EC moved to Trolley Barns (current location) 

PreFlight launched

Launched these accelerator-style programs: Project Music, Project Healthcare, InFlight, diversity scholarships for our PreFlight program to entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds. 

Inflight and Navigation launched

Twende launched

The EC became a “Virtual First Organization” to address the needs of entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic; Launched Renew Nashville and Pitch for Good, and more.

Since opening its doors in 2010, the EC has partnered with and been recognized by numerous outside organizations, including the White House, U.S. Department of Commerce, Google for Startups, Dell for Entrepreneurs and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.