Other Local Businesses Donate as NBIC Announces Business Plan University Finalists

No one knows the Nashville Business Incubation Center’s power to support burgeoning entrepreneurs better than Zycron, Inc.’s Chairman and CEO Darrell Freeman.

As an 11-year alumnus of the NBIC, Freeman can attest to the invaluable jumpstart the center gives to small business owners. The center’s programs work, and today he has proof. His company, Zycron Inc., which graduated from the incubation center in 1997 now is the $25,000 platinum sponsor for NBIC’s second Business Plan University competition which today announced its 10 finalists.

“The day Zycron moved into its own building was a ‘coming of age’ for my company after being housed at the NBIC for five years,” Freeman said. “The educational programs and financial aid the NBIC provides young entrepreneurs during their businesses’ infancy stages is truly priceless.”

Zycron, along with other local businesses, has helped NBIC nearly reach its capital campaign goal of $100,000. Led by Zycron’s $25,000 donation, AccountNet!, Aneel M. Pandey, Booker & White, LLC, Citizens Bank, First State Bank, Hospital Corporation of America, Lewis & Wright Funeral Directors, Molette Investment Group, Randstad Staffing, Tennessee Economic Community Development, Tennessee State University College of Business, Tennessee Valley Authority, The Design Apple Studio and U-Kno Catering have given a combined total of $90,000.

“Having such strong support from our economic and business leaders shows that people understand the important role our center plays in the community,” NBIC Executive Director Mildred Walters said. “Our corporate sponsors have helped us achieve 90 percent of our fundraising goal, and they are showing their confidence in the services we provide upcoming entrepreneurs. They are leading the way in reaching back to help others.”

The NBIC launched its second Business Plan University in September 2007. Thirty-four participants were admitted into the program which includes classes held once per week, instruction on identifying and meeting market needs, setting financial goals, and building a team. In the end, one hard-working entrepreneur will earn $25,000 in cash and business services to help grow their business.

Donations for the program will be accepted through April 31.

NBIC today announces Business Plan University finalists: Ten finalists were chosen from 34 program participants. The first place winner will be announced June 3 after several more weeks of competition and having their business plans judged by local business owners. The first place winner will receive $10,000 in cash, $7,000 in rent-free space at the NBIC and $8,000 in business services based on their business’ needs, such as accounting, legal counsel, space planning and furniture.

Congratulations to the Business Plan University finalists who will advance to round two of the competition.

  • Alex Tolbert, owner of Bernard Health, LLC
  • Ellen Caldwell, owner of Caldwell Collections
  • Lewis J. BeCoats III, owner of Clipper City Barbers
  • Clint Boyd, Jr., owner of Higher Ground Training, Inc.
  • Cindy Austin, owner of Keep Life Simple
  • Tonya Jackson-Strong, owner of Let’s Get Together, LLC
  • Jeff Stewart, owner of Mountain Jim’s Ice Cream
  • Brad Cowart, owner of Mousewise
  • Meaghan Mundy-Patterson, owner of Singing Heart Press
  • John and Joshua Perona, owners of Tri-Star Digital Connections, LLC