Belmont Students Awarded First Runner-Up in National Student Entrepreneur Competition

Kevin Fulda

Kevin Fulda

Belmont students Kevin Fulda and Jake Jorgovan took First Runner-Up at the national finals of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA). An Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) sponsored awards program, GSEA is for full-time undergraduate students who run a revenue-generating business.

Kevin and Jake’s company, Rabbit Hole Creative, is a media creation firm specializing in HD video production, motion graphics and event design.

Jake Jorgovan

Jake Jorgovan

Earlier this year, Rabbit Hole was propelled into the spotlight when the company produced video content for Cee Lo Green’s musical performance on Saturday Night Live. Since then, Rabbit Hole has started working on projects with clients such as Dolly Parton and Cirque du Soleil.

Jake attributes Rabbit Hole’s success to Belmont, saying “To be recognized by GSEA as one of the top student startups in the nation is quite an honor. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University. The professors there have done so much to help guide us in building a successful business.”

Roughly 3,000 student businesses were nominated to the contest. Only six were invited to the May 19 national finals in New York City.

Douglas Hanna’s Atlanta-based web hosting company, A Small Orange, won the national finals and will advance on to the GSEA global finals November 17-19.

John Rowley, president of Fletcher Rowley political consulting firm and EO Nashville member who nominated Rabbit Hole Creative to the competition said, “What these guys accomplished in terms of creative work and starting a business is incredible. Kevin worked for us as a producer working on hundreds of commercials while Jake kept the business running. They are creative guys with a grounded focus on building a business. That is rare.”

Kevin will graduate from Belmont this spring with a degree in audio engineering technology and video production. Jake recently graduated with an undergraduate degree in audio engineering and entrepreneurship

Read the Nashville Business Journal coverage of Rabbit Hole’s success here.

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Lee Williams & DCi make VAR500 List

Lee Williams

Lee Williams

EO Nashville member Lee Williams and his company Digital Connections, Inc. (DCi), recently announced it had been recognized by Everything Channel as a part of CRN’s 2011 VAR500 list, which ranks the top technology integrators in North America. Featuring the highest producing technology integrators and solution provider organizations in the IT channel, the VAR500 rankings consider earnings from hardware sales, software sales and managed IT services.

DCi placed 426th in the 17th annual ranking.

The VAR500 is a list of the largest value-added resellers, solution providers and integrators in North America by revenue size. Revenue size is determined by the amount of annual products and services sold over the course of 2010.

Congratulations to Lee and DCi!

EO Nashville Member in the News: Michael Burcham

Michael Burcham

Michael Burcham

The Nashville Post announced yesterday that EO member Michael Burcham, president and CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, is heading up a new statewide public/private partnership to encourage and support more business startups in Tennessee. The creation of Startup Tennessee and Michael’s role heading it up was announced at the Entrepreneur Center yesterday morning by Gov. Bill Haslam.

The new organization is affiliated with Startup America, a nationwide organization that “brings together a coalition of mentors, advisors, funders, major corporations and service providers to deliver strategic and substantive resources to help entrepreneurs start and scale companies.”

You can read the Post story here.

You can view a short video of Michael announcing Startup Tennessee here.

EO Nashville Member in the News: David Waddell

EO Nashville member David Waddell (Waddell & Associates) appeared Monday on CNBC’s “The Call,” a financial news show that has “the smartest people on Wall Street and covering Wall Street to help you make ‘The Call’ on your investments.”

David, certainly one of the smartest financial guys in Nashville, went head-to-head today with Huffington Post contributor Tanya Aker about whether it is feasible for Congress to address the nation’s huge debt load without raising taxes. To find out what side David came down on, just click on this link to watch the video.

EO Member in the News: Steve Curnutte

EO Nashville member Steve Curnutte was featured in the Nashville Post last Friday in a story about his new investment fund, The Capstan Fund.

According to the story, the fund

“will focus on buying claims and notes from distressed circumstances, providing debtor-in-possession financing to operating companies in Chapter 11, and making direct equity or debt investments.”

EO Member in the News: Benjamin Goldberg

EO Member Benjamin Goldberg is featured in this month’s NFocus as one of
5 Nashvillians inducted into the 2011 Class of “Renaissance Men.”

The other four inductees are: Steve Turner, Sam Felker, Will Cheek and
Benjamin’s brother, Max. Two notable Nashvillians were also named to the
Renaissance Man Hall of Fame: the late Guilford Dudley Jr., former president
of Life & Casualty Co. and US Ambassador to Denmark, and John Seigenthaler,
former editor and publisher of The Tennessean and founder of the First
Amendment Center
.

To be an NFocus Renassiance Man one must be “a gentleman who is interested
in, and knows a lot about many things, but with a certain Southern style.”
Benjamin’s broad knowledge of the restaurant business is obvious by the
success of the restaurants he and his brother own: Merchants, The
Patterson House
, Paradise Park and Aerial. And, of course, all four venues
are paragons of Southern style.

Congratulations to EO’s first Renaissance Man. The below excerpt is from the June 2011 Nfocus article.

Max and Benjamin Goldberg

You may describe either of them or their creations as “happening,” “hip” or “cool.” Employ whichever adjective you personally favor to describe any one of the entertainment venues that are the brainchildren of brothers Max and Benjamin Goldberg.

In earlier times, Nashville had restaurateurs and saloon keepers and a few people who were both. But these brothers have, in a relatively short time, built Strategic Hospitality, LLC. into a company with memorable venues that locals and tourists are clamoring to visit. Current holdings include: Paradise Park Trailer Park Resort, a tongue-in-cheek rendition of a southern trailer park, Aerial, an upscale private event space on the rooftop above Paradise Park, with iconic views; The Patterson House, a restaurant and bar with high-end cocktails that has received national press from The New York Times, The Post’s Page Six, GQ magazine, The Tennessean, and Spirit by Southwest Airlines and historic Broadway’s beloved cornerstone of upscale renewal, The Merchants.

Big brother Benjamin is the founder and empire co-owner. He attended The University of Miami and pursued a business degree in entrepreneurship during the peak of South Beach’s boom. It was during this time that he became engaged in the hospitality business, working at various bars and restaurants. He blazed a trail back to his hometown in 2003.

Not too many years later, younger brother Max graduated from the University of Denver, where he was student body president and recipient of the university’s highest honor, The Pioneer Award. He began his career in strategic consulting at top firms in Manhattan. Though New York City was appealing, (Hampton’s magazine named him one of the most eligible bachelors in NYC) he leapt at the chance to own his own business with his brother. Their bond is noticeably tight and strong. In a 2010 interview with Carrington Fox in The Nashville Scene, Max said, “When we opened up The Patterson House, I gave Benjamin an antique pocket watch. I had it engraved to say, ‘You are my best friend, my brother and my business partner. Let us never forget that order.’”

The fast-paced, seemingly all-encompassing business doesn’t keep them from contributing to our community in numerous ways. Max has coached basketball at KIPP Academy, and Ben serves on the alumni board of University School of Nashville. Aerial was the host site for “Gatsby for Grace,” a 1920s-themed fundraiser for the Grace M. Eaton Childcare Center, which provides childcare and educational development to children of working parents or parents enrolled in educational or job-training programs.