Dreamers helped build Nashville’s thriving economy one idea at a time. From sparks of extraordinary creativity to the simple evolution of a career, successful small businesses are started here every day.
The Nashville Business Incubation Center (NBIC) understands the monumental act of courage it takes to strike out on one’s own.
“Many people are committed to starting companies, but few are disciplined enough to do so,” says Angela Crane-Jones, executive director of NBIC. “We help companies with passion, purpose and a plan become sustainable businesses.”
NBIC serves as a coach to local entrepreneurs who need assistance in the art of building a business. It guides small business owners from an idea to an actionable business plan and provides counseling in marketing, human resources and legal services along the way.
In the last year, NBIC businesses have created 64 jobs and employed a total of 234 people.
One of those small business partners, or “acorns” as they are affectionately called, has grown into a mighty oak. U-Kno Catering, owned and operated by Brenda Odom, is a food-service company skilled in high-quality meals for special events and cafeteria services for a number of companies in the Nashville area. Within three years of entering NBIC, U-Kno needed to double its size.
“Working with NBIC has been the best experience I’ve had as a business owner!” Odom exclaimed. “When you come into this program, you have to take full advantage of the mentoring, administrative and legal services.”
NES learned about U-Kno through the incubation center. U-Kno signed a five-year contract to provide cafeteria services at NES’ headquarters and recently accepted a three-year contract renewal.
“The U-Kno Catering team has formed great friendships with the folks at NES,” Odom said.
“NES has become like a second home.”
The real question remains: What’s the most popular dish in the NES cafeteria?
“NES loves our fried chicken! I took it off the menu for a few weeks to introduce other options.
Needless to say, that didn’t last long! We cook a lot of other Southern staples and standard lunch fare, so we rotate options frequently,” Odom explained. “They couldn’t live without their fried chicken for more than two weeks. It was the best compliment ever.”