As the next step towards its goal to enable 1,000 new entrepreneurs to start 500 companies in Memphis over the next ten years, the Greater Memphis Chamber
Chairman’s Circle hosted the first EPIcenter
Growth Academy Symposium on September 23 at the Memphis Bioworks Conference Center, highlighting how small businesses can identify core customers and avoid “business disease.”
“This is really targeting companies that are trying to figure out how to grow and scale their business,” says Dr. Steve Bares, president and executive director of Memphis Bioworks Foundation
. “One of the big challenges that small businesses have is managing and growing their customer base. It’s ubiquitous, I don’t care if you’re a food company or a medical device company, all of them have the same issue.”
The Chamber is organizing a suite of activities for the academy that will include coaching programs, breakfasts, luncheons and other regular meetings.
“In our ecosystem of entrepreneurship, there were companies that are coming that are moving out of the start-up phase into the small business phase into either pre-revenue or post-revenue, and there was no clear programming that any of us had as an ecosystem provider for those companies,” Bares says.
More than ten companies attended the first event, which featured coaching expert Michael Sync as the key speaker.
Bares expects to see more companies at Academy events as the program gains momentum.
Ultimately, the EPIcenter (Memphis Entrepreneurship-Powered Innovation Center), which formed this past March, will dedicate one or two full-time positions to direct the Academy and its events.
By Michael Waddell