Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nashville entrepreneurs get ally in Michael Burcham

Michael Burcham launched his career as an entrepreneur in Nashville when an investor in New York invited the then-30-something to make a pitch. Four startup companies later, Burcham hopes to lead the next generation of entrepreneurs eager for their moment.
Burcham was recently named president of the new Nashville Entrepreneur Center; he'll start July 5 and get going on plans to raise as much as $3 million to help fund its operations over the next 12 months. The center's goal is to be both a launching pad and classroom of ideas for startup companies.

He sold his last company — Paradigm Health, which handled catastrophic disease management — in 2007. Burcham most recently has been a faculty member at Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management and is finishing up work there.

The Brentwood resident moved to Nashville in 1982 after getting a degree in physical therapy at the University of Mississippi. He worked for National HealthCare Corp. in Murfreesboro and later for HCA, at one time being assigned to the very office space once used by company co-founder Jack Massey.

That's when Burcham, the son of a minister and a nurse, said he discovered his own entrepreneurial spirit and decided to launch health-care businesses of his own. Burcham discussed the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and its future role in creating wealth and jobs with Tennessean business reporter Bonna Johnson.

What are the goals for the Nashville Entrepreneur Center?

We want to help new businesses launch in a positive way so that they can sustain themselves, and we want to help entrepreneurs connect with some of the great resources in the city. There is a wealth of resources within Nashville — not-for-profits, the universities, the small support groups and even large support infrastructures — but unless you've been here awhile, you don't even know where they are. Having a quick way to reference what's here is one of my first, most important objectives.

The second is matchmaking new entrepreneurs to people who have proven themselves in that space and could be a great mentor for them. We want to help them think through a business plan model so they can get funding for that idea. We'll help with the introductions they need for potential customers and potential capital.

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For Want of a NailNashville Entrepreneur Center names Michael Burcham as president