Barry is a Graduate of Stirling University and started a number of businesses both in the UK and in the US. Having operated a commercial radio offering from Nashville, he works within the MedTech industry.
As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we wanted to speak to successful entrepreneurs around the world to find out what support they have and what we might be able to learn from here in Scotland. First Up – Nashville.
Successful Entrepreneurs Nashville
Nashville was recently named by entrepreneur.com as one of eight U.S. cities with booming entrepreneur communities which is primarily the result of our vibrant music scene and our strong ties to the healthcare industry.
As an entrepreneur myself I would have to agree that Nashville is a great place to start a business.
I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug in 2007 and had the opportunity to move to Nashville as it tied in perfectly with my business. I had started a radio station and music platform that packaged Country Music and American content for the UK and European audience. I had already been working in that community back in Scotland and knew people in the industry, so at the start it was a great base for networking and making the right connections. However, upon landing on these shores one of the best bits of advice I was given was to contact the Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC).
Nashville Entrepreneurial Center
The Nashville Entrepreneur Center was a guiding light in helping with many different aspects of my business. At the time it offered flexible work space, a Nashville business address and all the other benefits you become accustom to when using a business center.
The Right Advice
However they also offered something very special that pretty much led the thought process for my business expansion. They offered guidance and coaching from people in specific industries and I managed to get a meeting with Joe Galante who was an advisor for the EC.
Joe was a 40 year veteran of the music industry and had led Sony Music, Columbia, Arista to name just a few. Through the Entrepreneur Center he became my coach for a number of sessions and ultimately helped design a business model that we used to pitch to radio companies in the UK, with great success.
At the time it was mind blowing that I would be able to have access to an industry leader in a one-on-one setting and that he was more than happy to guide me through the obstacles I was facing. To have access to that kind of inside knowledge was invaluable and helped shape my business so it was appealing to both the UK audiences and the U.S. content providers.
Coaching and Support
The EC also offered a number of coaching sessions on how to write business plans, accounting and was a great place to be put in contact with support staff for a small business.
The EC was pretty small when I first used it but, just as Nashville’s entrepreneurial scene has grown, so has the scope and scale of the EC, mirroring the city’s meteoric rise. It now offers classes on entrepreneurship as well as access to investors that they bring on board to potentially fund products, which has led to a vibrant MedTech industry in Nashville.
When starting a business in a foreign country it is always important to have a roadmap, and I use the the word roadmap very intentionally. Roadmaps are specific to the country you are in and it is the same when starting a business. Getting a handle on local regulations, taxes, employment laws and even in the U.S., the small differences in language for websites is so important for success.
The EC was a perfect example of the general support that I experienced when I was setting up my business and to be honest, Nashville as a whole has that supportive mentality. I was able to get access to most of the people and services that I needed and gained a few supporters and friends along the way.
Nashville Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
My path has since moved from the music industry into healthcare in recent years and I would say that the same mind set exists. People are always willing to meet with you to discuss and provide assistance when they can, the biggest obstacle you’ll face is probably too many opinions. It was a great advantage to me to be able to find an entrepreneurial ecosystem that gave access to people who can offer constructive and relevant guidance.