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Knoxville Area Urban League CO.STARTERS winner receives $10,000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 15, 2015
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Contact: Natalie Bailey
Today, Randy Boyd, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, presented Melissa Nelson with $10,000 from the Knoxville Area Urban League. Boyd funded the grant through the United Way of Greater Knoxville.
Nelson 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.
Nelson was selected as the first prize winner of $10,000 for Jet Buttons, which plug the jets in a whirlpool bathtub to protect users from germs that can develop inside the jets from previous uses.
“CO.STARTERS has really opened my eyes to what it takes to develop a product,” Nelson said. “The program doesn’t do the work for the participants but serves as a guide to help them build their business model and strategy.”
Nelson, who has been working on her product for two years, plans to use the money to secure a product patent and make a prototype.
“Then, I’ll focus on selling the product and getting it into retail stores for consumers,” she said.
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.
“Our economy is built on the success of small businesses,” said Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “We’re proud of all the CO.STARTERS participants, and we can’t wait to see what Nelson accomplishes. We believe in her business goals and were delighted to help her get started.”
Boyd secured the funding through his contribution to the United Way of Greater Knoxville.
The next CO.STARTERS class begins March 5, and applications are currently being accepted. For more information, 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.