Record-Breaking Number of Entrepreneurs Sign-Up for EO Nashville’s Catalyst Program

September 23, 2016

Now in its sixth year, program helps companies grow to $1 million in revenue 

Classroom sessions taught by EC Founder Michael Burcham

NASHVILLE, Tennessee, September 23, 2016 ­– A lot of factors have contributed to the Nashville chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) becoming the third-largest chapter in the world, but one of the most important is EO Nashville’s groundbreaking program to help small companies become large ones.

The 18-month program, called Catalyst, combines classroom instruction, mentorships and peer-to-peer CEO forums to help local companies that now generate $250,000 to $999,999 get to $1 million gross annual revenue or more. The program includes 12 fortnightly classes and up to one year of mentorship and participation in a CEO forum, for a total of 18 months.

Now in its sixth year, Catalyst today is arguably the most effective thing a Nashville entrepreneur can do to boost the growth of her business – a reputation that has led this year to a record-breaking enrollment of 40 companies in the 2016 class. 

“This year’s Catalyst enrollment is higher than ever before, and we know it’s a result of the success experienced by former participants of the class,” said John Kepley, EO Nashville chapter president and CEO of Teknetex. “The members of last year’s Catalyst program experienced an average growth of 194 percent and hired more than 107 new employees upon completion.”

Participants represent a wide range of businesses in industries such as food services, fashion design, digital strategy, real estate and more.

This year’s Catalyst participants include:

  • Lauren Atkinson, Lauren Marie Atkinson Designs
  • Ellen Bloomfield, Bloomfield Originals, LLC
  • Rick Bloomfield, Bloomfield Originals, LLC
  • Eric Conn, Independent Mastering, LLC
  • Jennifer Connors, One10 Beauty
  • Laura Deleot, Circa Design
  • Jennifer Derryberry Mann, Blooma Nashville
  • Richard Doughty, Cypress Concierge Medicine
  • Rick Dunlap, Moonshine Mountain Cookie Company
  • Grant Ellis, Nut Butter Nation
  • Ivy Elrod, Wilder Inc.
  • Derek Evans, Project 615
  • Mylikia Franklin, Divine Medical Billing, Inc.
  • Rusty Hagenbuch, CHARGER IT
  • Benjamin Hammond, Magnolia Property Consultants, LLC
  • Drew Hart, Inflammo 
  • Alphonso Harvey, Music City Med, LLC
  • Alicia Helm, Spruce, LLC
  • Andy Holeman, Novigo Designs, LLC
  • Brian Hoppes, Elevation Search Solutions, LLC
  • James Kennon, Kennon Calhoun Workshop
  • Crystal Kensinger, re:MOVE//Training
  • Quincy McKnight, Instant Merchant Group 
  • Claire Meneely, Dozen Bakery
  • Chris Nardone, Venture Music
  • Barry Owen, Pareto Realty, LLC
  • Chad Pankake, Affinity Search Partners 
  • John Penland, InfoTech
  • Ginny Pope, OAK Nashville
  • Mclaine Richardson, Margaret Ellis Jewelry
  • Julie Robinson, Cypress Concierge Medicine
  • Aimee Romero, Love and Science
  • Eva Romero, SOLACE Oral Surgery
  • Sooner Routhier, SRae Productions
  • Tori Thomas, Circa Design
  • Erin Tolbert, MidlevelU, LLC
  • Kristin Walker, Walker Feed Co. 
  • Spencer Wang, Peabody Corner Marketplace
  • Debra Wendorf, On Demand Solutions
  • Ike Wingate, Wingate Media Group
The classroom sessions will be taught by EO Nashville member Michael Burcham, founding president of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, current CEO of his newest venture, Narus Health and faculty member of the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Other EO Nashville members will attend Catalyst classes to share their experiences, in addition to serving as mentors. At the conclusion of the classes, Catalyst participants will be broken into smaller peer-to-peer forum groups, which will meet monthly for one year and are led by two EO Nashville members.

Many Catalyst graduates like Leslie Embry, owner of The Blowout Co., find that this combination of tactical classroom learning with one-on-one mentorship and peer forums is the powerful collection of business wisdom they’ve needed to move their businesses to the next level.

“There was no way I could have survived long-term in the state my company was in,” Embry, who is a graduate of the third Catalyst class, said. “The Catalyst program was a game-changer.”