Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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October 25, 2020 | Tom Ballard

Five start-ups selected for new “Small Batch – Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network”

Ten Entrepreneurs pitched their companies on Friday afternoon, and five were selected to join the new “Small Batch – Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network” organized by Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) in conjunction with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC).

The automaker is in the process of moving its North American headquarters from California to Franklin and launched the initiative for a specific set of reasons as described by MMNA Chief Operating Officer Mark Chaffin in this recent article.

“Nashville is a special place, fueled by a bold, creative energy that is especially apparent in its entrepreneur community,” he said. “Through this partnership, Mitsubishi Motors helps to celebrate individuals who choose to do things differently and think outside the box. Working in concert with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center is our tangible way of showing that.”

Two Vanderbilt University students – Jessica Kaplan and Zoe Antell – captured one of the five slots plus the audience favorite designation which included a scholarship for any of the EC programs that was valued at $1,500. Their start-up, named Ready Dress Go, is focused on revolutionizing the business attire market for young professional women.

The other four individuals and companies selected for the year-long Network opportunity are:

  • Annette McNamara of Beautiful Strength, a non-profit celebrating the resilience of the human spirit through the power of conversation and photography;
  • Amanda Latifi of Havta Have, a tool to help traditional retailers capture and eventually convert offline shoppers through a variety of messages and incentives;
  • Nielah Burnett of InnerG Juice & Yoga, a certified yoga instructor who is combining her passion for that exercise approach with a line of juice drinks to help people deal with the stress of daily life exacerbated by COVID-19; and
  • Monica Smith of PollyAnn’s Tea Cakes who described her distinctive product as taking the monotony out of the dessert space.

The other competitors were:

  • Steven Burman of EmpowerLocal, an enterprise that helps brands maximizing their marketing and communications budget through the power of a hyper-local strategy;
  • Julia Zay of enunc8 who has developed a web-based application to teach those who work in facilities like international call centers how to speak better English;
  • George Livingston of Geode Events, a start-up that brings the power of networking that we used to enjoy at in-person events to the virtual world of conferences and large meetings;
  • Jake Gideon of Intrinsic Value LLC who has developed what he described as the next generation 911 emergency system, built on the geofencing virtual boundary concept and currently being deployed in Lawrenceburg, TN.; and
  • Mel Taylor who presented splitsecnd, a device that plugs into the 12-volt outlet of a vehicle and uses the same type of sensor that triggers vehicle airbags in a crash to call 911 automatically if the individual is impaired.

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