The Nashville Entrepreneur Center Awards Five Scholarships Under Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

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The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) has awarded five scholarships to members of the middle Tennessee community today.

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"We are thrilled about this budding partnership with one of the most vibrant entrepreneurship centers in the world.” Brett Flener, Vendor Coordinator, The Contributor

The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) has awarded five scholarships to members of the middle Tennessee community today. Among nearly forty scholarship applications, five individuals were chosen to represent the EC’s initiative and take their startup idea through the PreFlight pre-accelerator program, beginning on January 25th.

Scholarship winners represent diversity in age, gender, ethnicity and industry. Recipients include Domonique Townsend (Minority Founder), Ayumi Bennett (Female Founder), Paul McNeil (Student Ambassador), Dave Lannom (Veteran Entrepreneur) and Donna Reeves (Social Impact). More information and profiles of these individuals will be posted soon at ec.co/diversity.

“We are thrilled by the community’s interest in our inaugural diversity and inclusion scholarship program,” stated Stuart McWhorter, CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. “After reviewing over forty applications from creative, passionate and skilled entrepreneurs, we selected five recipients with strong startup concepts that we can surround with critical resources to help launch their business. We are excited to work together with these recipients to increase the rate of entrepreneurship throughout the community.”

Alongside support from Google for Entrepreneurs and the Kauffman Foundation, the EC partnered with The Contributor to introduce the Social Impact scholarship as part of the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. The Contributor is a Nashville social enterprise that prints and publishes a weekly newspaper and recruits and trains homeless and formerly homeless vendors to distribute the paper.

"Our vendors are micro-business owners with the responsibility of maintaining their business’ growth,” says Brett Flener, Vendor Support Coordinator for The Contributor. “Our partnership with the EC is mutually beneficial in that our vendors will receive education and guidance for their business while ensuring diversity in culture and background as part of the EC community. This is one of the many ways The Contributor creates economic opportunity with dignity by investing in the lives of people experiencing homelessness and poverty. We are thrilled about this budding partnership with one of the most vibrant entrepreneurship centers in the world.”

All scholarship recipients will receive a one-year Launch membership at the EC and tuition for the PreFlight program. EC membership provides unlimited co-working space, admittance to weekly events and programming, and access to the EC’s robust advisor program. PreFlight is the EC’s four-month “pre-accelerator” for early stage businesses. Entrepreneurs learn and apply skills in ideation, customer development, product-market fit, pitch building and more. The program is built on entrepreneurial education for those who want to turn their ideas into a reality, but may not be able to commit full time yet.

About the Nashville Entrepreneur Center:
The EC, with offices at 41 Peabody Street in the Rutledge Hill area, was founded as an economic 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 501(c)3 non-profit 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 http://www.ec.co

About The Contributor:
The Contributor creates economic opportunity with dignity by investing in the lives of people experiencing homelessness and poverty. One of the largest street newspapers in the world, The Contributor trains and creates opportunity for 250+ street newspaper vendors who are pushing the boundaries on conventional stereotypes of poverty and work. Find more information at thecontributor.org.

About Google for Entrepreneurs:
Google for Entrepreneurs provides financial support and the best of Google's resources to dozens of coworking spaces and community programs across 125 countries. The organization also creates Campuses: physical hubs where entrepreneurs can learn, connect, and build companies that will change the world. To learn more about Google for Entrepreneurs, visit google.com/entrepreneurs or follow us on G+ (+GoogleForEntrepreneurs) and Twitter (@GoogleForEntrep).

About the Kauffman Foundation:
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, MO., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit http://www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on http://www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and http://www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn#

Press Inquiries:
Zach Hunt | 615-321-3110 | zach(at)tsgnashville.com
Kelli Nowers | 615-873-1257 | kelli.nowers(at)ec.co

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Elizabeth Fielding
The Strategy Group
+1 (615) 321-3110
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