NASHVILLE,TN – Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) today announced it received a $100,000 grant from Truist Foundation to support and further the efforts of Twende – a statewide initiative to help founders of color start their businesses. The Twende program is a statewide, year-long program offered by LaunchTN network partner, Nashville Entrepreneur Center to help founders of color start and grow their business. Twende is Kiswahili for “Let’s Go.” Through this grant, LaunchTN will play a pivotal role amplifying the Twende program through a series of statewide events, #BuildTN Conversations.
The funding from Truist Foundation will allow LaunchTN to build upon the success of the inaugural #BuildTN Conversations event held last year in October featuring serial entrepreneur and famed music producer Percy “Master P” Miller. Additional events will be planned this year across Tennessee to bring more minority entrepreneurs to the Twende program and to celebrate the successes of diverse founders across the state.
“Receiving this grant gives LaunchTN and Twende a larger opportunity to support and shine a light on founders of color across Tennessee. We are excited to announce the statewide roll out of #BuildTN Conversations in collaboration with Twende”, shares Jeremy Tharp, LaunchTN Events and Partnerships Director.
The partnership will focus on marketing, advertising and other promotional efforts in support of Twende and #BuildTN Conversations. Twende’s presence within each of the conversations will also help address disparities that founders of color experience, with access to capital being the leading issue. Each of the events will include a monetary, non-dilutive prize for founders selected to pitch their company.
“Supporting LaunchTN will empower minority entrepreneurs with resources to help them start or build their business,” said Johnny Moore, Tennessee regional president for Truist, speaking on behalf of the Truist Foundation. “This investment fulfills our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities, and can serve as a catalyst for business owners, the workforce, families and neighborhoods across Tennessee to achieve success.”
Brynn Plummer, VP of Equity, Inclusion and Community at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center continues by sharing, “Expanding Twende in coordination with LaunchTN means that we’ll get to further build on the unique assets of each innovation hot spot across the state. I hope that expansion enables us to further elevate the voices and stories of Black and LatinX entrepreneurs that are building vibrant businesses in Tennessee“.
The first #BuildTN Conversations of 2022 is slated for the end of February in Chattanooga.. The event will be livestreamed with limited on-site seating. Subscribe to LaunchTN’s weekly newsletter for registration announcements and more details.
About Launch Tennessee
Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) is a public-private partnership with a vision to make Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation. Its mission is to empower a high-functioning network of resources focused on core priorities that support Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through a network of Entrepreneur Centers and partner organizations across the state, Launch Tennessee fosters collaboration among entrepreneurs, the private sector, capital sources, institutions and government to offer entrepreneurs what they need to succeed and stay in Tennessee to build companies and create jobs.
About Truist Foundation
The Truist Foundation is committed to Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Established in 2020, the foundation makes strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. The Truist Foundation’s grants and activities focus on leadership development, economic mobility, thriving communities and educational equity. Learn more at www.truist.com/purpose/truist-foundation.