I recently had an opportunity to visit the Nashville Entrepreneur Center
and enjoy a little holiday cheer with various EC members, supporters and mentors. Since my company (ISI
) has had an office in Franklin (suburb of Nashville) for over 8 years, I thought it might be a good time to reach out and see what we could do to get involved with the local entrepreneurship community and possibly offer some assistance with mentoring, speaking engagements etc.
Once we entered the EC facility that is located in downtown Nashville (Peabody Drive), it didn't take long to figure out why Google selected the Nashville EC as one of only seven tech hubs in the U.S. As part of the partnership, a “Googler” will be working with the Entrepreneur Center, sharing best practices with the center’s leaders and connecting startup companies to mentors and resources at Google offices and to the six other tech hubs: 1871 in Chicago, CoCo in Minneapolis; The American Underground in Durham, N.C.; Galvanize in Denver; Communitech in Waterloo, Ontario; and Grand Circus in Detroit.
We got to the EC around 5:30pm and upon entering the facility (in downtown Nashville) a familiar feeling came over me reminiscent of my recent trip to 1871 (in Chicago). Energy and excitement was in the air! As we walked through the very modern building, we also noticed meeting rooms full of people still busy at work in various brainstorming sessions, strategy meetings etc. No clock watchers with these companies! Even on the night of the holiday party, they were still pushing it. I have to say I was impressed.
I also got a chance to talk to the EC membership director (coincidentally from Chicago) who explained that the Nashville facility was setup to primarily support healthcare startups whereas 1871 is focused on digital startups. Made sense to me since Nashville has more healthcare companies located there than any other city in the U.S. and healthcare is by far the hottest industry that continues to grow in spite of a difficult economy. Upon departing from the EC, I have to say I was not only impressed with what they are doing with the various Nashville startup healthcare companies but the collaboration with other Google tech hubs should be a winning combination now and in the future. The startup scene in Nashville is indeed looking good!