By SOTG News Service
Darrell S. Freeman Sr., the executive chairman and CEO or Zycron Inc., will deliver a keynote address about growing and maintaining the sustainability of small businesses at the Nashville Business Incubation Center’s 30-year anniversary dinner and award presentation, scheduled Feb. 2 at the Music City Center (201 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203). The dinner themed “Cultivating Dreams and Preserving Legacy,” will open with a light reception at 6 p.m.
Freeman, who often tells the story of starting his company in a tiny 150-square-foot office before scaling up into a 1,00-square-foot space in the NBIC, will share more about his journey with other NBIC alumni and attendees on a program that will also include an address from Audra Ladd, the manager for Small Business and Creative Economy in the Mayor’s Office and remarks from Angela Crane-Jones, the executive director of NBIC.
“I’ve been with NBIC for 12 years and have had the great pleasure to encounter many exceptional business owners who are willing to allow us into the depths of their business,” Crane-Jones said. “While we are celebrating the great work of the Center over the past three decades, we must acknowledge that without clients who trust us to serve as their accountability partners, board members committed to bringing their executive leadership into our space, and volunteers who go above and beyond to serve our clients in the most detailed way, we would not have anything to celebrate.”
Opened in 1986, the Nashville Business Incubation Center continues its mission to cultivate the growth and development of small businesses through one-on-one support, mentoring, programs, and classes. Over the years, NBIC has worked with hundreds of businesses, taking them from infancy to heights exceeding multi-million-dollar revenue goals.
A pioneer and leading growth space, the center created a path for small business development programs. NBIC offers a traditional residential—downtown—office location and a virtual incubation program, Incubator Without Walls.
The dinner will serve as a graduation and awards program honoring those businesses who have completed the five-year curriculum and those who have worked so diligently to ensure those graduates’ success in the center and beyond. Program graduates will evolve to a Mighty Oak Alumni.
Among the award recipients:
• Stand-out NBIC client, The Grilled Cheeserie food truck’s Joseph and Crystal Bogan, will be awarded The Chairman’s Award;
• Tim Douglas, president of FirstBank and former board chair for Growth Enterprises, Inc., the nonprofit that oversees NBIC, will receive the Mighty Oak Leadership Award;
• Michelle Drinkard Balfour and Nathan Harris—team members from Frost-Brown-Todd and NBIC volunteers—will be honored as Volunteers of the Year for their commitment to providing legal services;
• The Business Diversity program of the Metropolitan Nashville International Airport will be recognized as NBIC Collaborator of the Year.
NBIC program graduates include:
• Emerald Resource, a Construction/Technology/Telecommunication Service, solution, and installation firm;
• Further Farms, a locally owned and operated farm with a sauce and spice line;
• Roland’s Photography, a commercial photography studio;
• Ruffin Consulting, a consultancy providing professional, managerial, and organizational services; and,
• Spring Clean Cleaning Services, a full-service government and commercial janitorial company.