And that’s a wrap on my favorite event of the year! My wife, Sherry, and I are so grateful for the opportunity to honor some of the most impressive emerging entrepreneurs in the local Nashville community. For those who are unfamiliar with the NEXT awards, they are hosted by the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and recognize exceptional entrepreneurs local to Nashville. The honored entrepreneurs are transforming their industries for the better as well as setting a foundation for economic growth opportunities in the Nashville area and beyond. This year’s NEXT Awards hosted more than 750 attendees at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, filling every seat from stage to balcony. 

Each year, the NEXT Awards inducts four new members into the Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame for their ongoing contributions to Nashville’s entrepreneurial community. The 2023 honorees were as follows: 

  • Shirley Zeitlin
  • Eddie George
  • Jim Ayers
  • ​​Saurabh Sinha

What an honor it is to recognize three champions of change in each of the following categories: Healthcare; Technology, Music, Sports and Entertainment; Products, Services and Retail; Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction; and new this year, Financial Services. We also recognize two individuals for their vision, ambition, and drive to overcome challenges. 


Individual Awards: 

Emerging Entrepreneur of 2023 Luke Benda, Healing Innovations

Entrepreneur of 2023 — Brenda Motheral, Archimedes


Business Awards: 

Startups – Up to $1M in Annual Revenue: 

  • Financial Services – Workloop, Katy Schmitt
  • Music, Sports & Entertainment – TuneHatch, Inc., Christal Hector, Nathan Youssef & Reece Franklin
  • Products, Services & Retail – Trace Femcare, Inc., Claire Crunk, Olaf Isele & Megan Galaske
  • Real Estate, Hospitality & Construction – AGB Real Estate, Adam Rosenberg
  • Technology – Azra AI, Chris Cashwell
  • Healthcare – Thrive Therapies Group, Kristin McGraner & Liz Malugen

Emerging Companies – $1-3M in Annual Revenue: 

  • Financial Services – Wealth Access, David Benskin
  • Music, Sports & Entertainment – Genni & Co, Johnny Cloherty & Louis O’Reilly
  • Products, Services & Retail – Daily Crunch, Laurel Orley & Dan Stephenson
  • Real Estate, Hospitality & Construction – Holladay Ventures, Evan Holladay & Jined Lamata-Holladay
  • Technology – Possip, Shani Dowell & Christine Fisher
  • Healthcare – RxGenomix, Brad Tice

Market Movers – $3M+ in Annual Revenue: 

  • Financial Services – Core10, Lee Farabaugh & Jeff Hanson
  • Music, Sports & Entertainment – Moo TV, Scott Scovill
  • Products, Services & Retail – Turnip Truck, John Dyke
  • Real Estate, Hospitality & Construction – Strategic Hospitality, Benjamin Goldberg, Max Goldberg
  • Technology – FreightWise, Chris Cochran, Scott Samuelson & Phil Forte
  • Healthcare – ObjectiveHealth, Colleen Hoke & Don Lazas


Thank you to all our sponsors, congratulations to all of the exceptional entrepreneurs, and a huge shout out to the hard work of the EC staff with support from our committee.

It has been an honor for Sherry and me to be your co-hosts for this event over the past four years!  We are now happy to pass the torch to whoever will lead the charge in the future!