This article is part of our “This is Nashville” series, where we are highlighting companies and people who are working hard to embrace and protect attributes that define our Music City spirit: entrepreneurial, creative, friendly, quirky, charitable, forward-thinking and neighborly. It’s Nashville’s amazing people — as individuals or collectively as companies — who make us happy and proud to call Music City home. By featuring these people and businesses, it’s our small way of saying, “Thank you!”
We have been celebrating locally owned companies since we started StyleBlueprint more than 10 years ago, in 2009. That year, the economy was shaky and we started publishing, in large part, to celebrate the local companies that made Nashville, well, Nashville. We wanted to do our part to make sure our city remained unique and weathered the economic storm that surrounded us all. This was before Instagram and before Facebook business profiles. At the time, we saw far too many local businesses closing, and we knew too many people being downsized out of jobs. With this backdrop, one of StyleBlueprint’s cornerstones continues to be the celebration of local business, local entrepreneurs and celebrating business tactics that work. Thus, when we saw that 43 local companies just made the 2019 Inc. 5000 list, we took notice. Nashville is definitely a place where entrepreneurship is alive and well. As a creative and collaborative city, this makes sense.
The Inc. 5000 is an annual list comprised of the fastest-growing privately held companies in America based on some strict criteria. It’s always a badge of honor and a mark of success to be included. Out of the 43 Nashville companies (listed at the end of this article), 1/3 are part of the Nashville chapter of EO, a global organization with 193 chapters around the world. Astoundingly, the EO Nashville chapter is the largest in the United States, with 220 members, and the third-largest in the world.
EO Nashville President Bethany Newman (CEO of ST8MNT Brand Agency) states, “It’s not surprising that EO Nashville makes up so many of the local Inc. 5000 recipients since ours is the largest of all the U.S. chapters and third in the world. Our EO members are highly engaged with a drive for smart growth, in a city that supports and lifts up entrepreneurial activity.”
As an organization, EO provides each member, who must be a founder, cofounder or significant shareholder of a company with revenue of over $1 million a year, a monthly forum made up of members who pledge confidentiality. Using the gestalt method of feedback, which stresses the importance of experience sharing to help forum members versus offering direct suggestions or opinions, forum members typically create a tight bond while learning new techniques to grow their business. EO Nashville also provides ample opportunity through social and educational events to meet other members outside of the member’s forum and to hear expert speakers who typically focus on business strategies and company culture.
According to the most recently published Kauffman Report on Growth Entrepreneurship, Nashville is the fourth best city in the U.S. for startup growth, and, per capita, Nashville has the fifth most high-growth companies in the entire country. Livibility.com recently named Nashville as the “4th Best City of Techies,” which makes sense as modern entrepreneurial cities usually are filled with tech positions.
What makes Nashville so special that it dominates so strongly for its size? Anne Elizabeth McIntosh, of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC), provides these three key insights:
- Nashville has the resources available to those starting and growing businesses to work collaboratively so that entrepreneurs can find the RIGHT resources to meet their needs — for every industry at any stage of development. This program, called navigation, has been spearheaded by the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and the Nashville Mayor’s Office with the goal of making Nashville the best place in America to start a business.
- Additionally, the creativity that flows throughout this city makes it ripe for entrepreneurs. The same creativity that flows from the songwriting and music community makes Nashville a thriving city for emerging businesses.
- The people in Nashville are collaborative. They are willing to help each other. Successful entrepreneurs are quick to provide mentorship to those behind them on the path because someone once did it for them.
Nashville is definitely a city that supports its own, and we say CHEERS to these amazing Inc. 5000 local companies. Kudos for working not only hard but smart. And, if you are an entrepreneur growing a start-up, trying to grow an established business or simply want to plug into a group of like-minded business people who know that owning a business is not exactly as glamorous as it may look to the outside, reach out to the folks at the Entrepreneur Center and to EO Nashville. They’ll help you find a place and the programs to grow and thrive.
Here are the local companies that made the Inc. 5000 list. The bolded ones are all part of EO Nashville:
Staffing as a Mission
Perimeter Security Partners
Tomahawk Strategic Solutions
Evolution Event Solutions
Virtue Capital Management
Advent Health Partners
Senior Solutions Home Care
Energy Lighting Services
Michael Hyatt & Company
A Head For Profits
Mosaic Consulting Group
Cumberland Consulting Group
Resource Communications Group
Reliable Pharmaceutical Returns
Jones Therapy Services
The Kingston Group
All-American Pest Control