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April 26, 2022 | Tom Ballard

Cohort 4 of “100Knoxville” program underway

(EDITOR’S NOTE: As the fourth cohort of the “100Knoxville” program kicks-off, look for articles on each of the participants who completed Cohort 3 in the next several weeks.)

It’s another five-week sprint for the fourth cohort in the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s “100Knoxville” initiative.

The program, which is patterned after the “800 Initiative” in Memphis, launched in January 2021 with a goal of helping Black-owned businesses grow by $10,000,000 in five years through investment of time and talent and access to social, political, and financial capital. The most recent cohort that just finished its program and this one are facilitated by Kandis Troutman whom our colleague Kailyn Lamb spotlighted in this recent article.

During the five weeks, the participating start-ups will focus on clarifying their strategy, making connections across the entrepreneurial community, improving operations, and, most importantly, increasing sales.

Those selected for the latest cohort are:

  • PeeJay Alexander of Purple Mouse Smart House, paired with mentor Angelique Adams, has a smart home and property automation company specializing in the IoT (Internet of Things) for residential and commercial properties.
  • April Hardin of the Dream Institute and Dream Beauty Academy is paired with mentor Monty Howard for her one-stop beauty shop, cosmetology school, salon, barbershop, and fashion boutique.
  • Douglas Mapp of Think Up TN, paired with mentor Damon Rawls, is working with cognitive development professionals to improve the brain skills behind creativity and critical thinking, producing more work that matters.
  • Marcus Blair of Omega Digital Solutions, paired with mentor Harry Boston is helping others leverage the right technology to maximize their company’s performance.
  • Nicolsha Scott of Scott & Wright Construction, paired with mentor Rob Cochran is focused on trench digging for utilities line, fiber optics, and footers for homes.

Each company will receive $5,000 to help grow its business courtesy of FirstBank. “We believe programs like 100 Knoxville are incredibly important to our entire community,” said Brent Ball, FirstBank Knoxville President. “At FirstBank we are proud to support these entrepreneurs with both our resources and our time and expertise. Everyone wins.”

To apply for the next cohort, visit

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