By BRAD GASKINS
Special to The Messenger
Nine local entrepreneurs recently got feedback on their business ideas from business professionals through a new program at the Entrepreneur Center of Northwest Tennessee.
The nine business owners represented had businesses in various stages of development. Some were just getting started, while others had been in business a while and were looking to expand.
All business owners made two-minute pitches and were graded in several categories on a scale of 1 to 5.
Carol Reed, the center’s executive director, said she was impressed with the ideas.
“It was evident that the entrepreneurs had put a lot of time and effort in trying to reduce their story to a two-minute spiel,” she said. “They did an outstanding job of being able to condense that information. Their pitches were reviewed by the board members and received very positive responses and comments from the board members.”
Within the next six weeks, those nine business owners will participate in the center’s fall training program, which provides assistance with tasks such as creating business plans, marketing, start-up costs and balance sheet help.
The nine business owners were selected from 18 submissions and included people from Weakley, Obion and Gibson counties. Three of the business owners were referred from the REED Center.
The center, which has been open about four months, looks for people who will soon be in a position to launch a business, not just those who have basic concept but few details.
“I am very excited about the future of our program and the opportunity to help start-up businesses improve their chances of success or sustainability,” Ms. Reed said. “I have enjoyed getting to know the entrepreneurs. In just our short time, we’re finding that the entrepreneur spirit in northwest Tennessee is alive and well.”
The nine business owners present were:
• LeEllen Smith of Troy. Outside IN — Up-cycles donated T-shirts into new garments in a manufacturing process that will employ workers who have been marginalized from the mainstream workforce.
• Lynn Cox of Union City. City Chick BBQ Sauce — Manufactures three distinctive BBQ sauces — Hot, Mild and Lo-Carb — with new recipes currently being developed. Uses no additives or preservatives.
• Chris Mallon of Dresden. A to Z Pet Supply — A national wholesale pet and farm pharmaceutical company headquartered in Dresden. The store offers a wider selection of products not available in rural areas.
• Brian Claxton of Martin. CEB/ UnitedBids.com — CEB (Commercial Equipment Broker) provides high-quality commercial and industrial equipment for businesses. UnitedBids operates a retail store in Martin as well as online.
• John Cole of Martin. Mt. Pelia Innovative Solutions — Provides agricultural related product development, engineering and manufacturing; also is a wholesale distributor of a stainless steel version of a corn cutter, a cabbage/vegetable cutter and hand-powered and electric peasheller.
• Tymikia Glen of Dresden. Tight-N-Tone Fitness — Women’s-only fitness studio. Also a mobile training business that also offers in-home personal training for women with busy schedules and has a fitness studio which offers Group Personal Training and Drums Alive classes for women. Also offers nutritional seminars every other month.
• Debbie Reynolds of Martin. Veterinary Home Healthcare — Provides convenient and compassionate professional veterinary care for companion animals in the comfort of your own home. This service will help pet owners by not having the hassle of taking large or anxious pets to the vet and back.
• Steve Smith of Milan. Touching Hearts at Home — Provides in-home care for seniors and those with disabilities. Licensed by the state with caregivers that are screened, insured and bonded and go through a comprehensive training program. Serving Weakley, Gibson, Carroll, Crockett and Madison counties.
• BJ VanCleave of Milan. Home Master’s Group — Provides “One Call Service” for all home needs. Service is a lost art when it comes to residential services, everyone is interested in new construction, but most people avoid remodels and maintenance like it was a contagious disease. Home Master provides unmatched service, custom maintenance, through proprietary software, additions and concierge customized services to meet customers’ needs.
Published in The Messenger 11.27.12