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VOL. 46 | NO. 48 | Friday, December 2, 2022

Twende accelerator opens ’23 applications

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The Nashville Entrepreneur Center announced that Twende, its nine-month statewide accelerator program with world-class B2B curriculum, coaching, community and supplier diversity connections launched by the EC specifically for entrepreneurs that identify as Black and Latine, has officially opened its 2023 cohort for applications.

This year, the Twende Accelerator revamped its programming to include a new supplier diversity component that connects stakeholders and procurement leaders with diverse entrepreneurs across Tennessee. Enrollment for the Twende Accelerator is open through Dec. 30.

“There are more than 110,000 firms owned by Black & Brown founders across Tennessee. However, these businesses tend to start smaller and stay smaller than their peer non-minority-owned firms,” says Brittany N. Cole, chief equity and inclusion officer of the EC. “We know that supplier diversity is critical for scaling Black and brown-owned businesses and advancing economic equity. We want to ensure our Twende founders are prepared and positioned to land these five, six and seven-figure deals.”

In 2019, Nashville Entrepreneur Center launched Twende, which translates to “let’s go” in Kiswahili, as a call to action for local entrepreneurs of color to join a program with coaching, curriculum, access to capital and community that meets their unique needs.

In 2021, Twende received funding from the State of Tennessee to expand statewide. To date, the program includes entrepreneurs across 12 counties in industries such as tech, consumer goods, health care, professional services and hospitality, and has become one of Tennessee’s leading solutions for growing diverse-owned businesses.

Twende is open to entrepreneurs who identify as a racial or ethnic minority in a U.S. context, are a CEO or co-founder of an existing business that is scaling its operations, have up to $75,000 in annual revenue, and seek to join a supportive, collaborative community committed to transforming Tennessee’s minority-owned business landscape.

Information: twendeaccelerator.co

Renters need 63 hours work to cover average

An American making an average wage needs to work about 63 hours before earning enough to pay the typical monthly U.S. rent of $2,040.

That is three hours more than they would have needed to work a year ago, and six hours more than before the pandemic in October 2019, a new Zillow analysis finds.

Nashville renters fair only slightly better, needing 60 hours of work per month to cover that average.

These figures illustrate the growing affordability hurdles renters face, even amid what has been a strong labor market. The average hourly wage has grown 23% over the past five years, but rents are up 36.9% over the same period.

“The rental market has cooled this year, but so far that has meant prices growing more slowly, not any real relief for renters,” says Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow. “Rents were growing at a record pace for much of 2021, squeezing budgets for renters moving or renewing leases. Now, it appears more people are opting to double up with roommates or family, which means more vacancies and pressure on landlords to price their units competitively, offering some hope of relief on the horizon.”

The typical U.S. rent finally ended a two-year streak of nonstop growth in October, falling 0.1% month over month to $2,040. Annual rent growth peaked at a record 17.1% in February, and has since slowed to 9.6% year-over-year growth.

Renters in Miami face the greatest affordability hurdles, needing to work 96 hours at the average wage to pay the typical rent. That is 24 hours more than Miami renters would have needed to work to pay rent five years ago, the biggest gap among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas.

Even after steep rent hikes, hours of work needed to afford rent remain below the national average of 63 hours in several Sun Belt markets. This includes Atlanta (61 hours), Phoenix (61 hours) and Austin (58 hours), among others.

FirstBank gets spot on Best Banks to Work For

FirstBank has been named one of the 2022 Best Banks to Work For by American Banker for the third consecutive year. American Banker has partnered with Best Companies Group to identify banks that excel at creating positive and supportive workplaces for employees.

Nashville-based FirstBank is the third-largest Tennessee-headquartered bank, with 83 full-service branches across Tennessee, South Central Kentucky, Alabama and North Georgia, and a national mortgage business with offices across the Southeast. Since its inception in 1906, FirstBank’s business model has always been community-based, and has a reputation of excellence within each of its local markets.

FirstBank has participated in the Best Banks to Work For program three times total and has been recognized all three years.

HCA units help gather expired meds

HCA Healthcare announced that it collected 19,423 pounds of unused or expired medications during its fourth annual “Crush the Crisis” national opioid take back day Oct. 29.

It is the most HCA Healthcare has collected in this annual event, eclipsing the 15,566 pounds it collected last year. HCA Healthcare has now collected approximately 54,644 pounds of medication since launching “Crush the Crisis” in 2017.

“We are proud to announce the remarkable success of this year’s ‘Crush the Crisis’ events,” says Dr. Randy Fagin, chief medical officer of HCA Healthcare’s National Group. “Thanks to the participation of our colleagues and communities, alongside local law enforcement, we have helped to eliminate a record-breaking number of medications before they fall into the wrong hands.”

This year, all 15 HCA Healthcare U.S. divisions participated alongside local law enforcement in a “Crush the Crisis” opioid take back day to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid misuse and the importance of proper disposal of unused or expired medications. An estimated 13.4 million doses of medication were collected at more than 100 collection sites across 17 states.

HCA Healthcare’s “Crush the Crisis” events were held in alignment with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which collected 647,163 pounds of medication.

Businesses encourage ‘Shop Small Nashville’

Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee CEO Hal Cato announced a partnership to support local small businesses throughout Nashville’s neighborhoods, and issued a call to action for Nashvillians to eat and shop local during the upcoming holiday season.

The announcement came a day before Small Business Saturday, a national retail holiday to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.

“Nashville’s small business community embodies our city’s spirit of entrepreneurship and plays an essential role creating jobs and shaping a Nashville that works for every neighborhood,” Cooper says. “As folks begin shopping this holiday season, I’d encourage all Nashvillians to visit one of our incredible local shops to find something unique and meaningful for their friends and loved ones. When you shop local – take a photo and post it with the hashtag #ShopSmallNashville – and I’ll do the same.”

Participating local businesses who have joined the Shop Small Nashville initiative have pledged to donate 10% of their sales to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. The CFMT will then donate those proceeds to five nonprofits:

• Keva Inc

• East Nashville Cooperative Ministries

• The Branch Nashville

• Bellevue Community Food Bank

• The Heimerdinger Foundation

“Our neighborhoods make up the fabric of our city, and Nashville is blessed with so many great local businesses and nonprofits that help make each neighborhood unique,” Cato says. “We hope Nashvillians will join us in supporting Small Business Nashville as our community comes together to celebrate this season of light and generosity.”

Vanderbilt ranked a top ‘green’ college

Vanderbilt University has made the “green honor roll” of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to a new ranking by The Princeton Review.

Vanderbilt ranked seventh out of 713 colleges and universities for excellent sustainability practices, use of renewable energy, recycling and conservation programs, a strong foundation in sustainability education and career guidance for green jobs, and a healthy quality of life for students on campus.

“We know that the best way to make a meaningful difference for the environment is through the things we do every day – in what we teach, in our research and in how we operate our facilities,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier says. “This ranking is a testament to the innovative discovery on the environment happening in classrooms, labs and residential colleges – and to our teams’ innovative thinking when it comes to sustainably carrying out our mission.”

The Princeton Review’s editors analyzed more than 25 data points from their survey of colleges and universities to tally green rating scores for each of the schools on a scale of 60 to 99. Vanderbilt was one of just 31 schools that earned the highest possible score of 99 and a place on The Princeton Review’s Green Honor Roll.

Colleges that earned a green rating score of 80 or higher were chosen for the Guide to Green Colleges.

Belmont honored for student voting efforts

Belmont University earned the inaugural ALL IN Most Engaged Campus for College Student Voting recognition. This program recognizes participating institutions that worked to increase nonpartisan student voter registration, education and turnout and ensure equitable access to the polls for their campuses.

In 2020, Belmont earned the Gold Seal from ALL IN for having 79% voter participation, and has since been acknowledged on multiple accounts for notable voting-related activity.

“Trying to help increase college student voter participation has been a huge push, nationwide,” says Derian Hamblin, assistant director of student engagement. “Just recognizing how important young voters are and how much they need to make their voices heard through the voting process is what we are trying to do.”

Spearheaded by the Belmont’s Student Government Association, ALL IN’s “Most Engaged Campus” recognition acknowledges the substantial efforts the university has made to increase voting awareness and participation among students.

Belmont was the site for two polling places for the November midterm election – one being the Curb Event Center for District 18-2 and the Sports Science Center housing the poll station for District 18-3. The campus participates in the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE) which reports voter turnout data. Belmont’s report will be available following the finalization of November election results.

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