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Weekend edition January 12, 2024 | Katelyn Keenehan

100Knoxville program passes two year mark

The program’s goal is to grow Black-owned businesses in Knoxville by $10,000,000 in five years.

The 100Knoxville program started two years ago in March 2021. Since then, the program has welcomed eight cohorts of entrepreneurs, 11 corporate sponsors, and 22 mentors who have provided more than 260 hours of guidance.

In that period, 38 Black-owned businesses have graduated from the program and have collectively received about $190,000 in investments from community partners.

Nine out of Ten graduates said the program was effective at helping them grow their revenue and business entrepreneurship skills.

Perhaps one of the most successful business founders to go through the 100Knoxville program is Jade Adams. The spring 2021 graduate owns a modern houseplant boutique called “Oglewood Avenue.” spotlighted her business in this July 2021 article.

She received a $5,000 investment that helped Adams grow in several ways. She was able to shift her budget to hire two part-time and two full-time employees. She invested in a trailer to serve as a mobile pop-up shop, which allowed her to bring business to people who otherwise couldn’t make it out to her Brick and Mortar.

Adams also leveraged her experience with the program to work with major brands like Nike and HGTV, which expanded the reach of her business. She was featured in Forbes and Vogue and hit $1 million in revenue just three years after opening the business.

100Knoxvile, run by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, is described as a 5 x 5 x 5  program, meaning each cohort takes five entrepreneurs, matches them with five mentors, spends five weeks building skills, and invests $5,000 in each company.

“My goal for the program is for business owners to have more clarity about who they are and what they do, so they can be more intentional about growing and sustaining their companies,” said Kandis Troutman, the Lead Facilitator for the program.

The program’s goal is to grow Black-owned businesses in Knoxville by $10 million in five years.

The next cohort for 100Knoxville will be announced around March 2024.

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