Before this trip, I was already one of Nashville's biggest fans. I was lucky to go to school here and spend time in this amazing city. But what struck me today is how the things I love most about Nashville -- its welcoming attitude, its strong sense of community, and its appetite for arts and adventure -- have come together to build a vibrant, engaged, and diversified startup community. And, even more, how that community is helping to cement Nashville's position as one of the nation's most exciting places to be.
It's obvious that the close-knit and supportive community that exists here is driving its success. But it's more than just the startup community's success: it's the success of the whole city. This was true in the other places we visited this week -- but especially so in Nashville. One need look no further than the Trolley Barns, home to the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, the exciting epicenter of what's going on here (thanks in no small part to the community's biggest cheerleader, Michael Burcham). The Trolley Barns, 1930s-era buildings that, yes, did house they city's trollies, have been redeveloped as a home for startups, artists, and now restaurants and businesses. Just a few years ago, they existed in a part of the city devoid of commercial and residential activity. Now it's buzzing.
This was consistent with what we saw at Marathon Village and the BowTruss Building - formerly deserted and underused structures that have or are being renovated to house exciting new businesses, and are making new communities safe and successful. Just more proof that good startups are more than just good business, they're good community.
It's no surprise that Nashville, home for generations to some of the country's best artists, would also be home to some of its most exciting and disruptive startups. It has the support of civic leaders, like Burcham, and elected officials, like Gov. Haslam, who joined us today. And, like most successful communities, it has members who are engaged, helping their compatriots rise to the top, and encouraging them to plug back into the larger cities and communities in which they live.
Nashville, I always knew you had it in you.