The project will reimagine Burrus Hall on the Fisk campus into a community space to support the next generation of entrepreneurs in North Nashville and across the city.
On Monday, Mayor John Cooper and Fisk University will announce the launch of the Darrell S. Freeman Sr. Incubation and Innovation Center. This center will focus on supporting the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs and will be housed in Burrus Hall, which is located at the corner of 16th Avenue N. and Meharry Boulevard. since 1945. This innovative partnership will transform Burrus Hall into a center for incubation and innovation with more than 13,000 square feet of flexible space for programming and engagement. Once completed, the Freeman Center will provide comprehensive services, resources and programs to students, faculty and community members as they work to grow their businesses and test their ideas.
Metro’s COVID-19 Financial Oversight Committee approved $10 million in federal funding under the American Rescue Plan Act for the Burrus Hall renovation project on Nov. 30, 2022, and Metro Council approved the funds unanimously on December 19, 2022.
“For too long, Nashville has paid wealthy foreign corporations to create jobs here instead of creating and growing businesses by investing in local entrepreneurs already living in our city. With Burrus Hall, we are investing in the future of our own residents by transforming this historic Fisk University building into a center of innovation and entrepreneurship to create the next generation of Nashville business leaders,” said Mayor John Cooper. “Born through the work of the late great Nashville entrepreneur and business icon Darrell Freeman, this center will be a place where emerging business owners can access resources, connect with investors, take classes and more Again. As Nashville’s first public-private partnership with our oldest institution of higher education, this initiative will help bring Nashville’s opportunities to communities that have not benefited from our city’s growth. This is how we create wealth for all our residents.
The new space will host technology boot camps, as well as programs including mentoring, classes, workshops and events. The Freeman Center will aim to be a starting point for ideas that entrepreneurs can turn into standalone businesses or for new private investment. Similar models are implemented in the best universities in the country.
“Incubators are distinct ecosystems populated by curious, curious entrepreneurs, free agents, programmers, designers, dreamers, angel investors, tinkerers, venture capitalists and this center marks the next step in Nashville’s remarkable development,” said Jens Frederiksen, executive vice president of Fisk University. “The late Darrell Freeman knew it and he embodied everything this center is: determination, focus and innovation. Over the next few years, students, faculty and community founders will follow in his great footsteps and launch businesses and support neighborhood growth and development.
“This building is Fisk’s, but it’s not for Fisk. It is for us. The communal we. You, me and everyone else who wants to turn their business dreams into a lucrative reality,” said Shanna Berkeley And Marcia Smith, Executive Director and Director, Corner to Corner.
“The Nashville Entrepreneur Center is proud to continue our partnership with Fisk and provide dynamic advising and mentoring support to students and entrepreneurs in our North Nashville community,” said Brittany Cole, director of equity and inclusion, Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
“Collaborating to inspire, empower and improve lives within and beyond a community through the impact of providing information, resources, education and access. Ultimately, our goal is to provide all the tools for wealth creation to current and future generations,” said Brenda Haywood, Deputy Mayor for Community Engagement.
“To succeed, entrepreneurial ecosystems require attracting, retaining and training talented people, as well as establishing meaningful collaboration between universities, government and the private sector so that the supply and demand for talent are matched effectively. And over time, successful entrepreneurial ecosystems become talent magnets and talent incubators,” said Brynn Plummer, Vice President and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Alliance Bernstein.
“Nashville lags behind other cities in meeting the needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs. Building and creating more spaces where people can get the support needed to start, grow and grow businesses is essential to creating an equitable and competitive city in the future,” said LaTanya Channel, Metro Nashville Director of Economic Growth and Small Business Development.
“Research has shown that when low-income or disadvantaged entrepreneurs participate in incubation programs, they can increase their income by 22% and their employment by 15% (in 6 months). What this means for Davidson County is that small business owners across all sectors can access the programs and resources they need to scale – not only to build personal generational wealth, but also to become job creators for their community. said Holly Rachel And Lena Winfree, President and Vice President, Blacks in Technology – Nashville.
“I believe that investing in business ecosystems that provide minority entrepreneurs with equitable access to resources and expertise will help eliminate the barriers and obstacles that make closing the wealth gap unnecessarily difficult. This restorative effect, along with the economic gains, would be a huge step forward for Nashville, both socially and economically,” said Patrick Johnson, co-founder and COO, Recover-Health.