These three entrepreneurs won fellowships to help them grow their businesses in Memphis

What’s happening: Three Memphis entrepreneurs have been selected for 901 Entrepreneurs Fellowships, a program that supports entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities as they grow their businesses in the Memphis area. The fellowships are administered by the Epicenter nonprofit and funded thanks to Community Project Funding secured by Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) in fiscal year 2023.

What it is: The 901 Entrepreneurs Fellowship program has awarded a $65,000 stipend to three underrepresented Memphis entrepreneurs so they can scale their business full-time. Other potential uses for the stipend include purchasing equipment or hiring staff to accomplish business growth milestones. Fellows will also receive access to Epicenter’s entrepreneurial resources, including access to industry experts and coworking space.

Why it’s important: “We know that underrepresented or traditionally marginalized entrepreneurs face more hurdles when starting and growing a business, including access to capital, customers, expertise, and professional networks,” says Congressman Cohen. “I was pleased to advocate for the 901 Entrepreneurs program, which creates opportunities for founders to build their businesses here in Memphis with fewer barriers.”

Who was selected: The three entrepreneurs include Erika Dillard, MD, PhD, whose PopCheck Technologies features a medical innovation that reduces post-surgery venous clots; Stuart P. Lott, whose Backbone Technologies features a software platform that helps small business owners manage accounting more easily; and Kiamesha Wilson, whose Kaye’s Pints and Scoops, a small-batch ice creamery, is located in Whitehaven.

What they’re saying: “Entrepreneurs are the heart and soul of our economy, and we’re grateful for Congressman Cohen’s support of these business owners and their innovative products,” says Jessica Taveau, president and CEO, Epicenter. “These fellowships may be the springboard that the awardees need to build businesses that, when scaled, have the potential to provide economic opportunities for the founders and good local jobs for Memphians.”

Learn more about Epicenter and their programs for entrepreneurs online.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.