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Annual entrepreneurship festival in Nashville equips startups

by Paula Anderson


Entrepreneurs gathered in Nashville, TN on Aug 28-29 for the annual 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival. LaunchTn hosted the event to help startup companies receive resources, provide networking opportunities and build relationships.


Margaret Dolan, president and chief executive officer of Launch TN said, "We were thrilled to welcome startup founders, investors, and innovators from all over the US for this year’s 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival, our seventh-annual conference in downtown Nashville. The atmosphere was electric with so many amazing entrepreneurial minds coming together, including speakers like Jeff Bigham from Apple, Aia Sarycheva from Rise of the Rest, Seth Bernstein from AllianceBernstein, and many more. Beyond providing leading-edge, relevant programming, we’re proud to have awarded more than $100,000 to the winners in our two pitch competitions. We’re also honored that more than 100 applicants were able to attend as part of our 36|86 Fellowship for Underrepresented Founders."


The festival also included live pitch competitions, workshops on capital, investing, and business planning just to name a few.


University of Memphis students, Michelle Miles and Ryan Pierce, were contestants in the Student Edition on Wednesday, Aug. 28. Over 20 contestants participated in the student edition. Each had an opportunity to pitch their business model before a panel of judges. Cash prizes were awarded to the winners along with a crowd favorite prize.


Ryan Pierce, UofM student said, "36|86 was an absolutely exhilarating experience. As a student entrepreneur, my networking opportunities are generally limited to my local surroundings. The great thing about 36|86 is that it brings entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals together from all over the country! I made many valuable connections with professionals inside and outside of my industry. To top things off, our company had the chance to present at the student pitch competition and we couldn’t have been more excited! I had an incredible time and I can’t wait for next year!”


Michelle Williams-Miles, founder of Mimoma, who recently won 2nd place in a Fast Pitch Competition at the Crews Center for Entrepreneurship in April was prepared for this pitch opportunity.


Miles said, "Pitching in the 36|86 Student Edition Entrepreneurship Festival was an eye opening experience. It has helped me to narrow my focus with the next steps to create a prosperous, fiscally sound company. I look forward to attending next year to scout for top talent to add to my team!"


Entrepreneurs had an opportunity to network and learn about business growth opportunities.


Adam Jackson, president and founder of Nexus Commodities said, "I had a very enjoyable and rewarding experience at the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival. As this was my 2nd year attending, I enjoyed hearing the progress updates from other past attendees. I was also able to learn and take away very valuable insight into areas of opportunity and risk for our company. The networking events have helped me build a network of entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers that I plan to utilize throughout the coming year."


David Rose, UofM graduate student and social entrepreneur, enjoyed the festival and said the conference was "diverse and inclusive, great networking for an entrepreneur at any level, both professional and collegiate, informative workshops and presenters."


"Nashville is a beautiful and fun city," added Rose.


Below are highlights from the event in this short video clip.




Dolan added, "This year’s 36|86 was truly an extraordinary experience, demonstrating through the caliber of speakers and engagement of our attendees the vitality of the entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout Tennessee and, indeed, across the Southeast.


"And it’s not too soon to mark your calendar for next year: Aug. 26-27, 2020. Hope to see you then!"


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