Nashville’s annual Small Business Expo took place September 1, 2016, and was filled with informative classes, inspirational speeches, and priceless networking opportunities among small business owners in Music City. The morning kicked off with seminars and classes meant to educate attendees and provide new perspectives for those seeking advice and motivation to continue pursuing their small business initiative. Following the educational seminars and discussions, a luncheon served as the culmination of the event. During the luncheon, The Maynard Group’s own, Jerry Maynard, II welcomed the guests and introduced long time friend Mayor Megan Barry. Guests were then afforded the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers Mignon Francois and D.J. Wootson. Both told captivating stories about the obstacles they faced in getting to where they are today.
Jerry Maynard kicked the luncheon off with a thought-provoking speech about the importance of small business in Music City. Stating, in his opening remarks, “small businesses are the economic engine of our city.” Which was exemplified, in perfect form, when Francois and Wootson took the stage. Francois, owner of The Cupcake Collection, recounted the deliberate steps she took to get to where she is today. Without having any previous cooking experience, Francois took what she knew about science, what she learned from her grandmother, and what faith she had in herself to build what is now a highly successful cupcake bakery. She went on to tell the audience that her success did not come easy. Francois had to face many financial and emotional setbacks along the way, however The Cupcake Collection is completely debt free today thanks to her entrepreneurial spirit and determination.
Wootson, owner of Titus Young Real Estate Company, gave the audience a first hand account of the importance of starting from the ground up. He believes that being successful in business starts with educating yourself as much as you can. Though he had a well paying, ‘9-5 job,’ Wootson knew that his passion was in pursuing his own business. Because of this passion, he left his job to learn the ropes of retail. While working retail, Wootson also took every moment of spare time he had to meet with successful business people as a learning opportunity. Today, Wootson’s company is responsible for a multi-million dollar mixed development in the heart of Jefferson Street, among other ventures.
The Nashville Small Business Expo truly served its purpose of educating and inspiring those who hope to grow their businesses alongside the booming city.