Catalyst Program Presented By EO Nashville and the Entrepreneur Center Embarks on Second Class

Majority of first year Catalyst participants see increased revenue, business growth

Building off a highly successful inaugural year, the Nashville EO and the Nashville EC announced today the kickoff of their second Catalyst program, geared towards helping local entrepreneurs grow their companies past the key benchmark of $1 million in annual sales.

To qualify you must be the founder, co-founder, owner or controlling shareholder of a local company grossing between $250,000 and $999,999 in annual revenue. The program will again cost $2,500, which includes participation in the 12 biweekly classes and up to one year of experience sharing and mentorship for a total of 18 months.

This year’s class will include 25 members, up from 20 last year.

“We’re increasing the class size this year to meet growing interest in the program. Our initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and we wanted to give more businesses the opportunity to be involved,” said Andy Bailey, EO Nashville chapter president and entrepreneur coach at Petra. “We recently surveyed our current Catalyst members and asked them if their participation in Catalyst was worth the investment, and if they would recommend the program to others. One hundred percent of the survey takers, which represented 80 percent of the class, said that the program was worth their investment and they’d recommend it. More importantly, a majority of Catalyst participants have seen increased revenues since starting Catalyst.”

One such success story is Bethany Newman, co-owner and president of ST8MNT, Inc., a brand design studio offering print, Web and interactive services. Since starting Catalyst, Newman’s monthly average revenue has increased 54 percent. She has also hired two new full-time employees.

“Catalyst has helped me clarify my business model, streamline my operations and hire great team members,” Newman said. “It offers such a learning and sharing environment. You gain so much knowledge from the leaders, teachers and your peers.

EC President and CEO Michael Burcham will again lead the 12 biweekly classes that kick off the program. EO members will also be invited to attend and participate.

“With discussions following the class instruction, participants will be able to immediately internalize and apply what they’ve learned that evening from Michael to their businesses,” said Bryan Ansley, president and CEO of FNB Merchants. Ansley and Dan Hogan, president and CEO of Medalogix, are the EO Nashville board members responsible for the Catalyst program.

“These classes are the best investment of time and money that any new or veteran entrepreneur could ever spend,” said David Frederiksen, CEO at PatientCredit, Inc. Frederiksen, a member of the current Catalyst class with business partner and COO Evan Austill, has tripled PatientCredit’s monthly revenue since starting the program. PatientCredit has also grown from four to nine full-time employees.

Frederiksen continued, “Each class topic was not only relevant to my business, but also timely. The class schedule reads like a punch list of the exact challenges we all face as the leaders of young companies. With insight based upon his own experience, Michael Burcham is not just a fantastic teacher and mentor, but also a successful entrepreneur, having launched and sold three separate companies. I would recommend these classes to anyone in the process of starting or growing a business.

At the conclusion of the classes, Catalyst participants will be broken into smaller peer-to-peer forum groups. The groups will meet monthly for 12 months with the first six meetings led by two EO Nashville members. Catalyst participants will also be invited to EO members-only learning seminars and social outings.

Catalyst members will also engage in one-on-one mentorship with an EO Nashville member.

Amy Tanksley, owner of Uncle Classic Barbershop and current Catalyst member described her relationship with mentor Jolene Dressel, owner of the temporary staffing and recruiting firm Trojan Labor, as “incredibly helpful” and “such a wonderful experience.”

“Being in a room with other business owners who have been there, done that, and having the ability to bounce ideas off of people is priceless,” Tanksley said. “By being involved with Catalyst, you’re never in a situation where the blind are leading the blind. Rather, you learn how to grow your business well.” Tanksley has realized year-over-year same store growth of 20 percent, and has a lease signed to open a third Uncle Classic Barbershop in the Whole Foods Shopping Center in Cool Springs this October.

New this cycle, Catalyst participants will be able to take advantage of in-kind gifts totaling up to $35,000 from new program sponsors. Sponsors and benefits include:

  • NovaCopy: Free lease of copier equipment for the length of the program, $5,000 value
  • teknetex: Free technology and strategic planning, $20,000 value
  • First Payment Services: Ten-percent off current credit card processing expenses for 18 months, up to $10,000 value.

Interested business owners can attend one of two informational meetings hosted at the EC on July 19 and August 9 from 5:30-7 p.m. Local business owners looking to take advantage of the Catalyst program can complete an online application, located on the “About Catalyst” page of this blog. The deadline for Catalyst applications is Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. The program will begin Aug. 29.

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