One hundred alumni entrepreneurs and their families along with Massey College of Business faculty and staff gathered on Monday, Dec. 12 for the 2022 Belmont Entrepreneur Awards. This is the fourth year the Thomas F. Cone Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the Awards to celebrate 100 alumni who were nominated by colleagues, friends and Belmont alumni, faculty and staff to be included on the Belmont Entrepreneur Top 100 List.
Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones led an opening prayer and gave a short address at the start of the program. “Isn’t this the work of the entrepreneur,” she said. “To see the need, the struggle, the thorns, the lack and to work toward the solution offering hope, opportunity and creative thinking? You are the bell ringers and the hope bringers. Like those angels who are the featured characters in almost every Christmas carol, you are the messengers of good news.”
There were 35 new faces on the Top 100 List for 2022. The list included alumni from 37 different majors who have founded businesses in 36 cities. Belmont alumni traveled across the city and from as far as New Mexico, Texas and Florida to be recognized.
Impact Awards in the categories community, peers and industry were presented to founders who embody the impact that entrepreneurship brings.
Founder of Studio Bank and double alumnus Harry Allen, Management ‘04, MBA ‘10 received the Peers Impact Award. Studio Bank is a boutique bank located in Nashville that provides organizations, families and individuals with sophisticated financial services.
Music business graduate Logan Crowell ‘16 received the Industry Impact Award for HOME- Helping Our Music Evolve. HOME is a nonprofit artist development and music production community based in Nashville.
“HOME is everything you need under one roof to grow your music career,” Crowell said. “It’s a way musicians can find community, connect and get a measurable amount of education about the business side of music. There’s so many people coming to this town all the time to do the same thing and they’re all incredibly talented. We strive to be that centralized hub for them.”
Evan and Jenny Owens ‘05 received the Community Impact Award for REBOOT Recovery, a faith-based trauma healing program founded in 2011. REBOOT Recovery helps people in all walks of life overcome trauma by providing courses and developing support communities. The programs currently serve in 40 states and 10 countries.
“I think about how far God has brought us,” Evan said. “This work we do is hard: nonprofit work and for-profit work. Being an entrepreneur is super hard and probably nobody tells you that you guys are awesome. We feel so blessed by this award and Belmont has been a huge part of our story.”
Collectively, the businesses on the Top 100 List employ over 5,000 people around the world. Five video spotlights gave attendees an inside look at Kristin Sweeting founder of Dangerous Creatives, Texas natives and sibling alumni Uriah and Zylah Solis who founded the restaurant Tempo, Ashley Crawford who is the founder of the Nashville African American Wind Symphony, Trevor Hinsley who founded the music library Soundstripe and restaurant founder of Biscuit Love Sarah Worley.
The Cone Center also celebrated the expansion of new initiatives.
Four Entrepreneurs-in-Residence were announced at the beginning of the 22-23 academic year and have provided invaluable insight and mentorship to entrepreneurial-minded students.
The Jeffrey Buntin, Sr. Program for Creative Ventures has provided the opportunity for cross-departmental exchange and collaboration as The Cone Center, Watkins College of Art, O’More College of Architecture & Design, the Jack C. Massey College of Business and the Mike Curb College Entertainment & Music Business offer a tailored approach to support students at the intersection of creative arts and entrepreneurship.
The Jeffery Cornwall Legacy Launch fund offers support seed funding to graduating seniors.
Director of the Cone Center for Entrepreneurship Elizabeth Gortmaker gave final remarks to culminate the night.
“Entrepreneurship is bringing an idea to life and making it tangible,” Gortmaker said. “It is solving problems and creating solutions. It is economic development and job creation. It takes courage. It takes humility. And it takes a team. Tonight’s celebration is a small token to say that we see you and we are so proud that you are a part of the Belmont family.”
Alumni businesses sponsored and supported the event by providing services.
Tastify sponsored food for the evening with two charcuterie tables. Baked on 8th provided pies for dessert and LMA Designs arranged floral centerpieces. Attendees took home pictures captured at the photo booth from the Nashville Smile Bar. Drinks were provided by BarBees Bartending. OrangeThread Live Events constructed the stage and draping. Pack Films recorded and produced the alumni spotlight films and provided videography for the evening.