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July 26, 2020 | Tom Ballard

“Pitch for Good: Black Founders Edition” spotlights four Nashville, two Chattanooga start-ups

The second edition of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s (EC) “Pitch for Good” series was held Friday. The focus for the first session in May was on start-ups responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday, it was the “Black Founders Edition” with more than 50 applications received.

Two of the six presenting companies – one in each of the two categories – came from Chattanooga. Gable Eaton of TeqTouch LLC pitched in the “Launch Stage,” while Felicia Jackson of CPRWrap, a company spotlighted in several articles over the years in, was one of three competitors in the “Up and Running Stage.”

For the roughly one-hour event, the EC recruited an impressive cadre of judges (pictured at right along with the EC’s Brynn Plummer, who moderated the competition, and Jeremy Raley. In alphabetical order, the judges were:

  • Marcus Devane, Dell for Entrepreneurs Account Manager;
  • Brett Lockett, a retired National Football League star and entrepreneur;
  • Bill McCleskey, Founder of Mitech Partners LLC;
  • Jewel Burks Solomon, Head of Google for Startups US; and
  • CeCe Winans, Grammy Award-winning gospel artist and minister.

After one-minute elevator pitches and two minutes of questions, the judges selected one winner in each category, while those viewing the Zoom-delivered event voted on an audience favorite.

  • Jackson bested her two competitors in the “Up and Running” category to capture first place and $2,000 for her ever-evolving company that is providing a disposable template for individuals to guide them in case they are delivering CPR to one of the 350,000 individuals who annually experience cardiac attacks outside a hospital.
  • Autism Possible, a Nashville-based start-up, won the top prize and $2,000 in the “Launch Stage” category. Founded by Teresa, Trinity and Remle Vasques, Autism Possible is an advocacy service for autistic individuals that is also developing applications to help them live more independent lives.
  • Pivot Tech School, another Nashville start-up in the “Up and Running Stage” group, captured the audience favorite. The company provides 20-week bootcamps in data analytics and web development for minorities.

As described by Eaton, TeqTouch has developed the UTOUCH device. It is a washable wearable covering that users put on their finger for safe interaction with public touch screens. Obviously, with heightened concerns about COVID-19, he expects increased interest in the patented device.

The other two presenters were based in Nashville.

  • The third company in the “Launch Stage,” defined as revenues from zero to $25,000, was Domonique Townsend who presented We Optimize Work. She described it as a service to help employers manage the performance of remote workers, particularly working mothers, and the latter ensure that they are meeting their employers while balancing work and family responsibilities.
  • In the “Up and Running Stage,” the other presenter was Jerome Hardaway of Vets Who Code, a 501(c)(3) that trains veterans in web development and software engineering principles free of charge so they are prepared to start careers as java script developers.

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