Nashville Opens New 22,000 Square Foot Entrepreneur Center

Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Entrepreneur Center, Michael Burcham
Michael Burcham is a Nashville serial entrepreneur, angel investor, Startup Tennessee director, and Director of the Entrepreneur Center. On Thursday Burcham opened their new 22,000 square foot facility in the converted trolley barn at Rolling Mill Hill. The mayor, the governor, and Startup America founding CEO and Priceline founding CTO, Scott Case, were on hand for the opening of the new facility.

The new entrepreneur center has more space for education, collaboration, and acceleration within the walls of the 22,000 square foot building. It’s been outfitted with the technology needed to help achieve all of those goals.

The former Entrepreneur Center was always a temporary location after opening in May 2010. The center, led by  Burcham, immediately began a search for a permanent home and found it in Nashville’s creatively rich SoBro neighborhood in Trolley Barn #1 at Rolling Mill.

In addition to the new facility, the epicenter of Nashville’s startup ecosystem got a new name, sort of. They are now “The Nashville Entrepreneur Center”, thanks to a pending lawsuit from Entrepreneur Magazine which has a reputation for bullying entrepreneurial organizations that use their trademarked word in their name.

The new location is in the same park as one of Nashville’s most successful startups, Emma.

“It scales us in every direction,Burcham told the Nashville Business Journal. “It brings legitimacy to Nashville as the best place to start a business.”

The old trolley barns also serve as home to several other young companies. There are plans to build out a restaurant and possibly a bowling alley on the property that overlooks both the football stadium and the river.  Since it’s inception, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center has served as a hub for the thriving community which allows entrepreneurs to collaborate and learn from each other.

“Being with other people who are ahead of you in that process and in some ways behind you in that process, it’s sort of the crucible through which much, much better businesses go through,” Case said. “If you are not in place with a strong community … and Nashville is one of the fastest-emerging strong startup communities in the country, you tend to not have the quality of companies come out of it.”

You can find out more about the Nashville Entrepreneur Center here.











Entrepreneur Magazine Trying To Rain On Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Parade

Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Entrepreneur Magazine, Michael Burcham, Nashville startupWe are two weeks from the grand opening of Nashville’s new multi million dollar 22,000 square foot Entrepreneur Center. The effort, pioneered by Nashville’s startup community and Nashville Entrepreneur Center CEO Michael Burcham, is attracting bigwigs like TN Governor Haslam and Scott Case, the Interim President of UpGlobal and Founding CTO of

Two days of festivities slated for later this month will christen the new space that will house startups, startups, and more startups. The facility features educational space, space for accelerators, and space for startups at all stages.

In a private walk through back in April, Burcham was gleaming from ear to ear highlighting the vision that the entire Nashville startup community has partaken in. Community contributors will be recognized in cloud-like structures in the ceiling of the new facility and in big round plaques in the floor.

But, it’s not all rosy in Nashville. The Tennesseean reported Tuesday that there is one California company hoping to rain on their parade. Apparently, Entrepreneur Media Inc bought the trademark rights to the word “entrepreneur” over two decades ago and has sued the Entrepreneur Center to force them to change their name.

Burcham, who was recently called Nashville’s Rocket Man by the Nashville Business Journal, doesn’t have time for this nonsense ahead of such a critical event for Nashville entrepreneurs (there sue me too). To comply, The Tennesseean reports that they’ve added “Nashville” to the name of the facility and organization, effectively calling it “Nashville Entrepreneur Center”.

EMI, which owns Entrepreneur Magazine, has prevailed in many cases when it’s taken someone to court, even though they say they don’t “own the word”

“We don’t claim we own the word. We have limited trademark rights on it,” Mark Finkelstein, attorney for the company told The Tennesseean. “If the company goes national, could it cause confusion? Could it dilute the brand?”

The argument itself comes down to the fact that entrepreneur is such a common word. We use it all the time, and there are several entrepreneurial organizations that use the word in their name.

The Tennesseean spoke to Daniel Gervais a law professor at Vanderbilt who specializes in trademark battles. He pointed out that it would be one thing if we were talking about a word like Kleenex or Xerox, proper nouns. However “entrepreneur” is different.

“This would be a good example of trademark law used to limit speech,” Gervais said. “It looks like they’re trying to own the word, but how far do they have to go to police the use of a word that is otherwise common?”

Both Burcham and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center have been featured within the pages of Entrepreneur magazine and their website. While the lawsuit is evaluated and a judge considers where a trial would occur, it’s full steam ahead for the new nonprofit.

The Nashville Entrepreneur Center will hold their grand opening in two weeks, next week, this big startup event will occur on June 12th and 13th, in Nashville.


Nashville Courting New Startup Accelerator,From Silicon Valley, Hattery!

Hattery,Entrepreneur Center, Michael Burcham,Nashville startup,startup,startup news

Hattery strategist, and Engine Advocacy co-founder Michael McGeary (photo:

Nashville’s Entrepreneur Centre Director, Michael Burcham, played host to Mike McGeary, a strategist with Silicon Valley innovation lab, Hattery.

Currently the Hattery has a west coast location in Silicon Valley and an east coast location in New York City. Hattery invests in early stage startups and helps the startups with support in design, engineering and business development.

If you think you’ve heard McGeary’s name before it’s because you probably have. In addition to being a strategist with Hattery, McGeary is also the co-founder and chief political strategist with Engine Advocacy a group connecting startup founders and entrepreneurs with government officials to create change in the entrepreneurial/startup space. They were recently intricate in a startup pilgrimage to congress. McGeary also worked with TuneIn and on two presidential campaigns.

Hattery is looking to take their unique model to another state and Nashville seems to have caught McGeary’s eye.

“There is a great energy here and I’ve read about it and heard about it because Nashville has been really good about talking about its success stories,” McGeary told the Nashville Business Journal during the Nashville Technology Council’s TechVille event.  He continued;  “It has been really fun and interesting to see the companies created here, how the community is being built in a really unique way. I think there is a lot of growth potential here.”

Burcham, who is one of Nashville’s biggest advocates for entrepreneurship and startups as well as the leader for Startup Tennessee, Startup America’s Tennessee region and the second region in the United States, characterized the possibility of Hattery relocating to Nashville as a “giant deal”.

“He already works with so many investors and organizations in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, so for us to have someone sitting here that has access to those places, that’s enormous,” Burcham said, who reached out to McGeary about three months ago via Twitter. “My goal is to turn that from a conversation into something real.”

Burcham is looking to overflow the new 22,000 square foot, multi million dollar entrepreneur center with as much programming and resources as possible.  The Hattery program would add another great avenue for Tennessee startups to take advantage of. Although still under wraps,we do know that there are other nationally known accelerator brands looking to partner with the new entrepreneur center when it opens in June.

If anyone can sell Nashville’s startup and entrepreneurial community it’s Burcham. He’s a salesmans salesman and with his vast experience in the startup space, coupled with his down home Nashville personality, it’s hard to not fall in love with the guy and his passion.

The team behind the Hattery is filled with Silicon Valley success stories and they’re looking to spread the wealth across the country. Their portfolio includes; Bright Funds, Cloud Physics, Zubhium, and Hipiti.

Find out more about Hattery here and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center here.

Take a tour of the new multi-million dollar 22,000 square foot Entrepreneur Center here.


Nashville: It Takes A Village, Or A Startup Community To Build An Entrepreneur Center

Entrepreneur Center,Nashville,Michael Burcham,startup,Nashville startupThe Entrepreneur Center in Nashville Tennessee is a pretty awesome space as it is right now. It sits directly across the legendary Broadway street in Nashville, from the Hard Rock Cafe. The entire second floor serves Nashville’s startups and entrepreneurs.

The current Entrepreneur Center has always been a temporary location after opening in May 2010. The center, led by Michael Burcham, immediately began a search for a permanent home and found it in Nashville’s creatively rich SoBro neighborhood in Trolley Barn #1 at Rolling Mill.

The space is adjacent to where one of Nashville’s biggest startups, Emma, operates. There is also an entire barn filled with smaller early stage startup companies, while the last barn will become a recreational restaurant space. “Entrepreneurs and founders working at the new Entrepreneur Center will be able to grab a beer or bowl, overlooking the river, and then get back to work” Burcham told us on Friday.

Friday afternoon we got an exclusive sneak peak and complete tour of the new space. Burcham had assembled a group of center supporters to tour the progress of the center that has just over 50 days until completion.

“We’ll make our deadline for a soft opening in June” Burcham told us during the walk through.

No entrepreneurial stone was left unturned in the design and build out of the new facility. Over $5 million dollars was raised from private and public donors, including Burcham himself who has had several exits in the medical realm.

Anyone who knows Burcham knows that he’s typically beaming and grinning when talking about Nashville’s entrepreneurial scene. During this walk through he was radiating.

The tour started at the center’s new side entrance. The first thing Burcham pointed out was manhole sized indentions in the floor. This is going to be a walk of fame for entrepreneurs who’ve committed $50,000 or more to the Entrepreneur Center. The 22,000 square foot space was covered with these indentions that will be filled out by opening day.

Burcham almost choked up when he told the group how the entire community had come together across Nasvhille and across Tennessee to get this beacon of entrepreneurship built. For example, Knoxville politician and entrepreneur Jim Haslam, father of Governor Bill Haslam, underwrote the first conference room we saw. Both Haslam’s are expected to attend the grand opening in June.

The “crow’s nest” will overlook the new cafe/coffeeshop which is an accelerator in itself (photo: NMI 2013)

The next thing Burcham talked about was the crow’s nest (pictured above). Entrepreneurs will be able to pitch investors, get mentoring, or coaching high atop where other entrepreneurs will be grabbing a cup of coffee or eating at the center’s cafe.

The cafe isn’t just a source of nourishment but it will be it’s own separate 3 month restaurant accelerator. “We’re going to take entrepreneurs with restaurant startups and let them try them out here for three months before they open their doors” Burcham said. He also showed us the kitchen which will include restaurant industrial refrigeration, heating and warming. Everything a restaurant startup would need to cook and prepare.

While Broadway is just two blocks away from the new location, having an on-site restaurant will help feed over 400 people that will work, take in a class, mentor, or coach at the Entrepreneur Center on any given day.  The fact that the restaurant concept will change every 90 days will make for great variety.

These bays will house startups and accelerators including Jumpstart Foundry and Vanderbilt’s Tech Transfer (photo: NMI 2013)

Toward the back of the building are several bays. One will be an area for Vanderbilt’s tech transfer program. Jump Start Foundry’s summer 2013 session will switch over to the new space when it opens as well. There are several other announcements forthcoming at the grand opening event. Burcham filled us in on all of them, and that back space will be buzzing.

The entire center will be filled with wall to wall glass. From the front of the learning space to the back of the startup space, people will be able to see all the way through.

Speaking of the learning space, at the current EC it’s called the “Fish bowl” at the new EC it may as well be called the “aquarium”. oer 200 will be able to sit comfortably and work in comfortable chairs with pop up desks fit for laptops or iPads. “We’ll have plenty of power, AV and wifi as well”. Burcham is making sure that every corner of the turn of the century building is fit for wifi.

The new space has several big LED monitors that will be mounted on the wall. They will show what’s going on in the education space, startup space, or that’s produced in their own inhouse AV studio.

The education side of the building will have mentor offices. These spaces can be completely closed off with a sliding glass door for privacy with openness. Some of the Entrepreneur Center’s corporate mentor partners will have permanent spots and others will be able to use shared spaces.

As for Burcham, despite spearheading this entire operation, he is taking another modest office off in the corner of the building.

The Entrepreneur Center opens June 19th and 20th and will feature several startup celebrities and Governor Bill Haslam. For more info click here.

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