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Corner to Corner recently held a graduation party, celebrating the work of underestimated entrepreneurs in Nashville. This free event featured delicious food and drinks from their Academy graduates as well as the chance to hear from some of the brand new businesses getting started right here in Nashville.
The Academy is a 10-week program that equips underestimated entrepreneurs with the skills they need to plan, start and grow their own small business. They celebrated their Fall graduates on November 12, 2019 at Studio 615. The Academy has quickly become the first step for neighborhood entrepreneurs in Nashville, and the graduation flung open the doors and allowed community members to celebrate and congratulate these business owners.
“This “graduation” was really a huge celebration with music, free food and drinks, vendors, a compassionate pitch contest and recognition of our amazing 61 graduates,” said Shana Berkely, Academy director. “Their businesses ranged from chefs to motivational speakers, genealogists to balloon artist and everything in between. Even after the extreme cold and snowy night, this graduation had over 500 community leaders, entrepreneurs, and neighbors who were all excited to celebrate the accomplishments of these entrepreneurs!”
The Academy is a vision that was launched from the non-profit Corner to Corner’s belief that all neighbors have God given passion, creativity and drive.
“We are proud to be able to equip them with the knowledge and tools on how to use their passion in a way that helps their business thrive,” Berkeley continued. “For underestimated communities, small business creation is a vital, yet missing piece of the economic picture. The Academy fills this gap by offering quality and affordable training for all.”
As one graduate put it with joy in his voice, “I was trying to get going for 2 years and couldn’t make it happen. The best business decision I ever made was signing up for The Academy.”
This is the 7th graduating class and within that short timeframe, the Academy has graduated 210 business owners. The Academy’s first class was in 2016 and they hold 2 graduations per year. This is huge, because according to the Small Business Administration statistics, the economic impact of past Academy graduates on the Nashville economy is $4.6 million dollars every year. The Academy programs currently run at six locations throughout Nashville.
“This semi-annual event is among the most electric in the city in part because it represents community celebrations and reminds us that it’s the journey, not just the destination, that deserves to be celebrated,” says Will Acuff, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Corner to Corner.
Shana, the director of The Academy jokingly adds that “we are the worst kept secret in town because even with no press, we welcome hundreds of neighbors to celebrate the dreams of others and… if we are lucky… for the dream inside of them to awaken and grow.
At the end of the day, that is what The Academy does – it helps neighbors turn a business dream into a money-making reality. Want to get started on your dream? Register today at theacademynashville.org.