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Knoxville Area Urban League CO.STARTERS winner receives $10,000
On July 29, Randy Boyd, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development, presented Brian Sheely with $10,000 from the Knoxville Area Urban League.
Sheely recently completed the 10-week CO.STARTERS training program, which allows entrepreneurs to build and test small business ideas with customer feedback and input from local, successful business owners. At the conclusion of the program, participants pitch their businesses to a panel of judges.
Sheely was selected as the first-prize winner of $10,000 for CrossFit ex libro gym, which provides CrossFit, weight training, functional fitness and open gym classes. The gym also offers self-defense classes for women.
“CO.STARTERS has been a great experience to see what is needed to help make a small business successful,” Sheely said. “The guest speakers really provide helpful advice for the participants and prepare us for the pitch contest.”
Sheely, who opened the CrossFit gym in West Knoxville earlier this year, plans to use the money as working capital and for marketing purposes.
The Knoxville Area Urban League hosts the CO.STARTERS training program for entrepreneurs at all stages. Whether the business is just an idea or already in operation, the program gives participants the knowledge and experience to turn their passion into reality.
“Small business fuels our economy,” said Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “We’re proud of all the participants, and we can’t wait to see how Sheely’s business grows from his success in the program. Our community needs more entrepreneurs, business growth and economic development to sustain the local economy.”
Boyd funded the grant through the United Way of Greater Knoxville.
The next CO.STARTERS class begins Sept. 10, and the Knoxville Area Urban League is looking for applicants who are serious about starting or growing their business. The Urban League also offers loans from $5,000 to $250,000 to businesses that cannot qualify for loans at banks or credit unions.
In addition, the Knoxville Area Urban League recently received a $10,000 grant to launch a community-wide pitch contest called The Paradigm Challenge. The funding was awarded by Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) through its Creative Communities Grants program, and the goal of the competition is to spur economic and business development in the East Knoxville business corridor.
Anyone residing in Knox County can submit a pitch idea. Pitch participants must propose creative ideas that lead to business growth in one of three industry-specific areas in East Knoxville, including health care, retail or light manufacturing and technology.
For more information, contact the Knoxville Area Urban League at 865-524-5511 or visit www.thekaul.org.
About the Knoxville Area Urban League
Since 1968, the Knoxville Area Urban League has assisted disadvantaged people attain social and economic stability and self-sufficiency through direct services and advocacy. The League works to provide a skilled and diverse workforce; to increase homeownership; to support economic and small business development, and to enhance education efforts for our youth. The Knoxville Area Urban League is a United Way partner agency and affiliate of the National Urban League. The League’s work and results are evident in the lives of the over 8,000 people it impacts each year. For more information, go to www.thekaul.org.
For more information on the Knoxville Area Urban League and its programs, call 865-524-5511 or visit http://www.thekaul.org.