Shani Dowell, Possip: TN’s First Black Female Startup to Raise $1M Joins The EC’s Board

In the bustling heart of Nashville’s entrepreneurial landscape, Shani Dowell is a shining example of innovation and community empowerment. A former educator turned visionary entrepreneur, Dowell’s journey, thanks to her perseverance, offers a positive bridge between parents and schools that is steeped in trust, learning, and feedback.

It all began in 2017 when Dowell, a Black female entrepreneur, recognized a pressing need within the education system: the disconnect between parents, schools, and administration. Armed with a passion for improving communication and a big idea, she embarked on a mission to revolutionize the way feedback was gathered and utilized within educational institutions.

Turning to Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) for guidance and support, Dowell’s journey took flight through PreFlight, getting her idea validated. She launched her business and accelerated with the help of InFlight. 

“With the invaluable resources and mentorship provided by the EC, my vision for Possip came to life,” said Dowell. 

Possip is a platform designed to empower organizations to make informed decisions, celebrate their communities, and foster continuous improvement through feedback.

Possip’s focus on education and nonprofit sectors quickly gained traction, and Dowell’s groundbreaking venture soon became the first Tennessee Black female-owned startup to raise an impressive $1 million in capital. 

Today, Possip’s reach extends across 35 states, impacting over 1% of U.S. public schools and engaging with over 1 million individuals who contribute feedback to their organizations through the platform.

Dowell’s entrepreneurial prowess has not gone unnoticed. She has been recognized as a Most Admired CEO by the Nashville Business Journal, solidifying her status as a trailblazer in the local business community. Yet, even amidst her own success, Dowell remains deeply committed to paying it forward.

Fueled by a desire to uplift aspiring Black entrepreneurs, Dowell has dedicated herself to fostering inclusivity and diversity within Nashville’s startup ecosystem. She played an instrumental role in establishing Twendé and Re:Generate—a program and fund specifically tailored to support Black founders on their entrepreneurial journey.

In 2023, her role in building Possip’s revolutionary technology earned her a prestigious NEXT Award for Technology Market Mover, further cementing her legacy as a visionary leader. Today, she continues to give back to the EC community as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence for Twendé and as a member of the EC’s Board of Directors.

Shani Dowell’s story embodies the spirit of resilience and innovation and her commitment to giving back defines Nashville’s entrepreneurial landscape. Through her dedication to bridging communication gaps and fostering community empowerment, she has not only transformed the way we engage with education but has also paved the way for future generations of entrepreneurs to thrive. As Nashville continues to evolve as a hub of innovation, Shani Dowell stands as a shining example of the transformative impact of passion, perseverance, and purpose-driven entrepreneurship.

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