Nashville Metro and Fisk University Announce ‘Incubation and Innovation Center’

A new space designated to help local entrepreneurs and startup companies has been announced by Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Fisk University.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Fisk University personnel announced the creation of the Darrell S. Freeman Sr. Incubation and Innovation Center on Monday. The center will be located at the university’s Burrus Hall and will focus on “supporting the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs,” according to the mayor’s office.

Burrus Hall, located at the corner of 16th Avenue N. and Meharry Blvd in Nashville, has been vacant for close to 30 years.

The location will be transformed into an “incubation and innovation facility” for local entrepreneurs and startup companies to grow their businesses and connect with those alike. Once finished, the center will host tech boot camps, as well as programs including mentoring, classes, workshops, and events for the public.

The project is funded by $10 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, as which the Metro Council approved on December 19.

“For too long, Nashville paid wealthy, out-of-state corporations to bring jobs here instead of creating and growing businesses by investing in local entrepreneurs already living in our city,” Mayor Cooper said in a statement. “With Burrus Hall, we’re investing in our own residents’ futures by transforming this historic building at Fisk University into an innovation and entrepreneurship center to create the next generation of Nashville’s business leaders.”

The project is named after the late Darrell Freeman Sr. who was a self-made millionaire and graduated and served as a board member of Middle Tennessee State University. Freeman also served as a former board chair for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Incubators are distinct ecosystems populated by curious and inquisitive entrepreneurs, free agents, programmers, designers, dreamers, angel investors, tinkerers, venture capitalists and this Center marks the next stage in Nashville’s remarkable development,” Fisk University Executive Vice President Jens Frederiksen expressed in a statement. “The late Darrell Freeman knew this and he embodied everything this center is about: determination, focus and innovation. Over the next many years, students, faculty and community founders will follow in his large footsteps and launch businesses and support neighborhood growth and development.”

Fisk University, founded just after the end of the Civil War, is the oldest institution of higher learning in Nashville and one of the oldest historically black universities in the United States.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Mayor John Cooper at Fisk U” by Mayor John Cooper.


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One Thought to “Nashville Metro and Fisk University Announce ‘Incubation and Innovation Center’”

  1. Joe Blow

    Who is going to pay for this playpen when the $10 million runs out? What a waste.

  2. Randall Davidson

    Elector year Cooper giving out gifts…..