Navigate Podcast – Episode 1: How To Navigate Nashville’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem


You know that business plan you have scribbled out on the back of a bar napkin? That Google Drive folder with all those great ideas for startups or tech platforms that will revolutionize an industry? That cool app you always wanted to create… If only you knew, “Where do I start and who do I talk to first?”.

Buckle up and get ready to test-drive Season One of Navigate, a brand-new podcast dedicated to helping budding business owners like yourself maneuver through the myriad of resources that make up Nashville’s fast-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Think of it as your GPS to business success!

Music City has a web of over 250 networks dedicated to helping startups and entrepreneurs. This is one of the reasons why Nashville has become the nation’s fourth best city to start a business according to Inc., beating out tech-centered giants like San Francisco and New York. Yet despite all the available assistance out there, for those just starting out, finding your way to and through that busy ecosystem can sometimes feel like an insurmountable hurdle, a never-ending hunt for hidden treasure – and all without a map.

Connecting the dots for entrepreneurs at all stages of development is Navigate’s main purpose. Powered by the Nashville Entrepreneur Center – one of the hundreds of incredible resources mentioned above for entrepreneurs seeking guidance along the way – and hosted by the EC’s Clark Buckner and Brynn Plummer, each episode intends to shine a light on this city’s varied support systems.

Jessica Harthcock, CoFounder & CEO of Utilize Health

Jessica Harthcock, CoFounder & CEO of Utilize Health

We’ll hear from business leaders like Jessica Harthcock, co-founder and CEO of Utilize Health, a Nashville-based startup that assists patients with neurological disabilities find treatment programs around the country. What began as a four-member team quickly grew to an operation with now over forty employees. Harthcock attributes that success to the city itself.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of Nashville culture and growth,” she said. “It has some incredible leaders and mentors that are always willing to share their time and resources.”

Michael Brody-Waite, CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Michael Brody-Waite, CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center

One of those many mentors Navigate will interview along the way is Michael Brody-Waite, who shared his journey from drug addiction to being named one of the Top 40 Under 40 CEO’s by the Nashville Business Journal. Brody-Waite eventually sold his startup, InQuicker, and wanted to give back to the community that helped him find success as a resource himself. He did so by becoming the CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

“I think one of the things that makes Nashville so great is the willingness to help each other,” he tells listeners. “But when you go from 900,000 Nashvillians in a couple of years to 3 million Nashvillians, it’s really hard to find the right people to help you.”

His episode of Navigate will focus on how to find and foster the right mentor relationships.

By also exploring the myths surrounding entrepreneurship and sharing stories of success and failure, we intend to use Navigate to do more than just bring light to Nashville’s complicated ecosystem; we also hope to expose some of the potholes many entrepreneurs encounter along the way.

Renee Bobb, Founder of the Music City Icons

Renee Bobb, Founder of the Music City Icons

In one segment called “Death by 1,000 Coffees,” we’ll talk with Renee Bobb, owner of the Music City Icons, a semi-professional women’s basketball team. She describes how quickly the waters can be muddied, sometimes unintentionally, by Music City’s many communities willing to help each other out.

“You could end up meeting people and they say, I can help you, but I also want you to meet somebody else, and then I want you to meet somebody else, and then somebody else…and by the time you meet all these people, you’ve forgotten why you wanted to meet with them in the beginning,” she revealed. “You end up wasting a lot of time and resources before you’re able to get the help that you need.”

But by following the advice spotlighted in each episode of Navigate, and sharing each other’s stories along the way, we hope entrepreneurs will be given a leg up on the journey to success. After all, this city’s business community is made up of all these different puzzle pieces, which when assembled fully, paints one spectacular picture: there is no better place for an entrepreneur to start than right here in Nashville, and no better time than today!

So unfold that napkin, open up those notepad idea files and tune in to Navigate for your guided tour through Nashville’s business ecosystem. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts!


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