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The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition

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VOL. 38 | NO. 10 | Friday, March 07, 2014

Entrepreneur Center helps get tech ideas off the ground

By Jeannie Naujeck

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The Entrepreneur Center, opened is 2013, is located in Rolling Mill Hill, just south of downtown’s Gateway Bridge, in space that once housed Nashville’s trolley cars.

-- Michelle Morrow | Nashville Ledger

In June 2013, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center opened the doors to a spacious complex in the Trolley Barn complex of Rolling Mill Hill. It was the culmination of efforts dating back to 2007 to create a storefront where would-be entrepreneurs can develop their startup business ideas under the mentorship of experienced businessmen and women.

While the EC focuses on incubating and helping fund four key sectors – health care, technology, digital media and entertainment and social enterprise, anyone with a business idea can use its resources.

The EC also helps connect new businesses in its Accelerator Program with capital resources through its extensive network of relationships with investors of all types.

The EC partners with Jumpstart Foundry, a technology accelerator, and Jumpwerx, a program to help larger companies quickly develop ideas for new products or service lines for the company over four or five months.

Since the EC launched in July 2010, more than 100 companies have launched from its accelerator programs, and the roster of more than 300 mentors has heard more than 2,000 business ideas and hosted leaders from around the country and the world.

Currently, an international partnership is developing with King Fahd University that will transfer ideas and capital between Nashville and Saudi Arabia.

“Every day I get up thinking, ‘What am I going to do today that makes the Entrepreneur Center and the work we do here special, that will make people want to come here for help and guidance?’” president and CEO Michael Burcham says.

“We do things that matter. We help actually launch businesses; we impact people’s lives.”