Nashville entrepreneurship program to graduate 150 students | Nonprofits | – Nashville Post

The Academy’s 2021 graduation 
The Academy’s 2021 graduation 
Corner to Corner, a local faith-based nonprofit organization, has announced that 150 students are graduating Tuesday from The Academy, a 10-week entrepreneurship training program. The organization helps entrepreneurs plan, start and grow their businesses by teaching them different skills.  
In the past, 88 percent of the students graduating have been Black women, and the oldest graduate 72 years old. For this graduating class, the ages range from 18 to 67. Most of the graduates come from North Nashville and East Nashville, the organization said.  
The 150 students graduating this week join a total of nearly 700 people who have gone through the training program. The first class of the training program, in 2016, included 13 graduates, and the 150 set to complete the program Tuesday night at Rocketown are a record for Corner to Corner.  
“Our entrepreneurs have all kinds of industries; it’s not industry-specific, but it’s for our neighbors that are underestimated, which mostly looks like our Black entrepreneurs and our Black neighbors,” executive director Shana Berkeley said.   
Founders Will and Tiffany Acuff began the organization in 2011 and later partnered with the McFerrin Community Center to start a program focused on equipping former offenders with the skills needed to earn a job. Altogether, the organization has grown to do programming in five communities. 
Among the success stories from Corner to Corner are Marcus Buggs, owner of restaurant Coneheads and past sponsor to 15 Academy entrepreneurs and Adrienne Bowling, owner of A-1 Mobile Notary.   
“[Buggs] was one of our early graduates and he began his career catering food through The Academy,” Berkeley said. “He learned how to pivot and he learned to understand the customers. Understanding customers is [one of the] things we teach in the class. … Because of his catering he was able to open a restaurant in 2020 right before the pandemic.”   
According to Berkeley, Bowling enrolled in the program and at the start of her career her business was bringing in $35,000 a year but, with the help of lessons learned through the program, that total jumped significantly.  
“Because of what she learned in our program she was able to add those things into her existing business,” she said. 
KateLynn White graduated from Tennessee State University, where she was an editor of the student newspaper. She interned for The Tennessean and The Tennessee Tribune before joining the Nashville Post in 2022. She also contributes to the Nashville Scene.
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