Nashville Black Innovation & Entrepreneurship Day 2022


2022 is off to a great start! The Nashville Entrepreneur Center helped make Black history by requesting a proclamation with the City of Nashville. And it was accepted! February 15th is officially Nashville’s Black Innovation & Entrepreneurship Day. We celebrated in style with an in-person event bringing together successful Black entrepreneurs for a speaker series who helped judge a pitch event for entrepreneurs in our Twende 2021-2022 Cohort. 

Host Brynn Plummer, our VP of diversity, equity & community, opened by thanking attendees, most of which are Black entrepreneurs, “(We are making history and) you’re a part of that and you’re the reason for that.”




(1) Marcus Whitney, co-founder of Jumpstart Health Investors and its affiliates, including the newly announced Jumpstart Nova; (2) Victoria Butler, founder and master blender of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, a nearly five-year old spirits brand based in Shelbyville, TN; and (3) Courtney Hale, chief hope dealer at Super Money Kids Company.



Brynn kicked off our speaker series by letting each of our speakers introduce themselves and later dove into a Q&A. Each speaker offers a dose of wisdom and inspiration. 

Marcus Whitney shared, “There’s no negotiating at being good at what you do. Entrepreneurs should be thinking like athletes (because) every meeting is an opportunity to perform.”

Brynn asked, “Ideally, what does Nashville look like in 10-15 years for founders of color?”

  • Courtney Hale: “Support and resources for schools and our children. We can’t grow without supporting our kids.” 
  • Victoria Butler: “We need to take care of the children (and fight for) equity in law enforcement.” 
  • Marcus Whitney: “We are working on it (the future) right here. Entrepreneurship is the most unbiased playing field that we’ve got.” He expanded to inspire Black entrepreneurs to not just think about a local solution – think globally and think big. 

Brynn also asked, “Who excites you in Nashville. Who should people follow (for inspiration)?”

  • Butler opened it up with a response that received applause: “I’m focused on me.” Whitney and Hale also gave kudos and shared a similar sentiment. “I got focused on my business and started growing because I got off of Twitter and stopped listening to podcasts,” adds Whitney. Hale “dropped the mic” as Whitney closed the session with the message that entrepreneurship is hard and it takes perseverance. You’ve got to put you first and make sure you’re okay on the inside to build something that solves problems on the outside. 

Twende Cohort Pitch Participants

Applications were open to participants in our Twende program at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Four applicants were selected to pitch at the event for an opportunity to win a prize: 1st Place – $2,500 and 2nd Place – $1,500. A special thanks to our program partner, Launch Tennessee for their sponsorship of the prize money. Each pitch was delivered in a 1-minute elevator speech about their business. After their pitch, the judges asked questions to learn more about the Founder and their goals. 

Participants included: 

  • (1) Jazmine Tricoche of  Dream Life, a 10-year old Memphis printing company that is launching a mobile service; 
  • (2) Felicia Evans of Inspire Me with Fe, a Nashville-based start-up offering help for those who seek change in their wellbeing; 
  • (3) Danielle Buntyon of Jades Elevation, a small family urban farm in Memphis that focuses on providing the best hemp products from seed to experience; and
  • (4) LaTaevia Berry of Machine Mob Labs, another Nashville-based start-up that automates the sales funnel process for Black business owners.

Congratulations to Our Winners

And the winning spot was a tie between two entrepreneurs! The total prize money of $4000 was split evenly between: 



Announcing Twende’s New Podcast – Twende: Rethinking Entrepreneurship

And closing the event, we announced the launch of a new podcast, Twende: Rethinking Entrepreneurship. Listen and subscribe here:



Thanks to our Twende program partner, Launch TN (pictured above), for sponsoring the event.

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