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April 18, 2022 | Tom Ballard

Kandis Troutman adds her own touches to the “100Knoxville” program

By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA

Cohort 3 of 100Knoxville recently graduated from the five-week program. But this time, the initiative had a different structure after the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) brought in Kandis Troutman, a local Purpose and Prosperity Coach, to be the Lead Facilitator.

Through her business, The Creative Architect, Troutman typically works with women in building purpose-driven businesses.

“My area of specialty is helping women activate their God-given power so they can uncover their purpose and use that purpose and transform it into a business,” she said.

The 100Knoxville initiative was modeled after the 800 Initiative in Memphis and launched in January 2021. The goal of the program is to help local Black-owned businesses grow by $10,000,000 in five years. You can read more about the launch of 100Knoxville in this article. For each cohort, five Black-owned businesses are selected for a five-week program. Cohort members are paired with a mentor and receive $5,000 each. Troutman said the bones of the program were already in place when she came in, but she helped build it out more.

“I think 100Knox had some great success before me except they were missing the program aspect, which takes somebody from something to something else,” Troutman (pictured right) said. “People want an experience, and I think that’s what was missing.”

The new 100Knoxville program is still broken down into five weeks. Troutman put together a private Facebook group for the cohort members. Each week, the members of the cohort receive an email with digital content. The cohort also meets via Zoom to discuss that content each week, with Troutman leading a coaching session on whatever that week’s subject is. She said the Facebook group allows the cohort to have a space to be engaged and ask questions.

In addition to digital content, cohort members receive workbooks. Troutman said the workbooks help them apply the things they learn from each session. The cohort members are responsible for finishing the workbooks and uploading them to the Facebook group.

“Not only are we giving out information that we’re teaching, I also am holding you accountable,” Troutman said. “For every task, you have to complete this step to make sure that you are progressing.”

Troutman added that her main goal for the program is for business owners to have more clarity on who they are and what they do. Without that, it’s “confusion and chaos.” The program helps them refine their why, who, what, when, and how.

“Five weeks is not enough time to get a transformation,” she said. “My goal in those five weeks is ‘do you come out more clearly.’”

In addition to the programming upgrade, Troutman said KEC is working to improve the program’s brand. Cohort 3 member Jarius Bush designed a new logo. For branding, she said it’s important members of Knoxville’s Black community can see themselves in the program. Troutman added the program can be better promoted now that it has a more defined structure.

Troutman, who was born and raised in Knoxville, was first connected to Catherine Porth (Director of Insights and Development at the KEC) after Tamika Harper invited Troutman to speak at the Makers Summit. From there, Porth brought Troutman in for Women in Entrepreneurship events and eventually asked if she would be interested in helping with 100Knoxville. At first, Troutman worried she wouldn’t have enough time. Because she has “carved her own path” as an entrepreneur, and worked as a business coach, Troutman said she realized she could pull information from her experience as well as programming she’s done to build 100Knoxville.

She added that at Howard University, where she attended college, many classes teach the importance of giving back. This ties in with Troutman’s philosophy of bringing people with her when opportunity knocks.

“I can’t expect to continue to reap a harvest where I’m not sowing,” she said. “What are you going to do for the people coming behind you?”

Look for more coverage of Cohort 3 in upcoming editions of Cohort 4 of 100Knoxville will start this spring.

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