The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC), a non-profit dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and local businesses throughout Middle Tennessee, announced it is expanding its Twende program for entrepreneurs of color statewide. Twende, which is Kiswahili for, “Let’s go,” is a year-long accelerator program for Black and brown tech and tech-enabled business owners in the state of Tennessee and supports their efforts to scale their business through mentorship, networking and education.
“We’re on a mission to make Tennessee the most supportive state for entrepreneurs of color, and we’re honored to work toward a more robust and inclusive business community across the state,” said Jane Allen, CEO of the EC. “We know that entrepreneurship drives economic success for minority communities, and by expanding entrepreneurship like we’re doing with Twende, we can support shrinking the racial wealth gap by as much as 80%. We’re excited to grow this program and continue to provide opportunities for business success to people across Tennessee.”
Created by the EC, Twende has a virtual network that offers entrepreneurs of color access to a world-class curriculum, supportive community and individualized mentorship. Benefits of being selected in the program include access to 300+ industry mentors that can provide hands-on support, connections to statewide business leaders as well as EC alumni and staff, and drop-in coworking space located at the EC’s office in downtown Nashville.
“One of our main priorities is tackling inequalities and leveling the playing field in entrepreneurship,” said Brynn Plummer, Vice President of Equity, Inclusion and Community at the EC. “The median net worth for Black business owners is 12 times higher than Black non-business owners. Further, the rate of entrepreneurship is 6.75% for Black and Hispanic Tennesseans and 11% for non-minority Tennesseans, so closing this gap would yield new job growth, reduce unemployment and add millions to our economy. And because of our partnership offerings and resources, Twende can easily scale and maintain a statewide network of support for founders of colors, making Tennessee the first state to create such an initiative.”
Since its inception in 2019, Twende has served 32 entrepreneurs and seeks to serve at least 200 more across Tennessee over the next year. Companies that participate in the program on average have a 140% year-to-year revenue growth, and 55% of Twende companies outperformed their pre-COVID-19 pandemic projections.
Twende is open to entrepreneurs who identify as a racial or ethnic minority in a U.S. context, are a CEO or co-founder of an existing business that is scaling its operations, have up to $75,000 in annual revenue, and seek to join a supportive, collaborative community committed to transforming Tennessee’s minority-owned business landscape. The program is funded in part by Launch Tennessee and the Governor’s Office. To learn more about how to join Twende, click here.
About Nashville Entrepreneur Center
The Nashville EntrepreneurCenter (EC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) founded in 2010 by business leaders who wanted to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and to celebrate the spirit and tenacity of the entrepreneurial community. The EC serves as Nashville’s center for entrepreneurship, supporting visionaries—from every background, in any industry, and at all phases—by connecting them to critical resources and championing their desire to change the world. Learn more about the EC by following us @entrecenter on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at www.EC.co.