Branding Nashville business beyond ‘Music City’: Students to shape the city’s new entrepreneurial and high-tech identity 

Vanderbilt’s Accelerator Summer Business Institute teams up with the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

Media Contact:
Amy Wolf
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Vanderbilt University
(615) 322-NEWS |

May 21, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When most people think about Nashville, they think about music. That’s an identity the city is proud to have, but it sometimes makes it challenging for other types of businesses trying to launch and grow. Along with being a music capital, Nashville is also consistently ranked as one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the nation by Entrepreneur magazine and others.

That’s why the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with students in the Vanderbilt Accelerator Summer Business Institute to help re-brand Nashville as an entrepreneurial hotbed, with all the resources budding companies need, while also respecting the “Music City” brand. The campaign will be designed around the brand and a new online Virtual Entrepreneurship Center, now being created, which will target technology start-ups.

“This is a project that the Nashville Area Chamber and the city are very passionate about,” said Janet Miller, the Chamber’s chief economic development and marketing officer. “Our knowledge and attention to the needs of existing and future businesses, combined with the creativity of these students will surely lead to an exciting opportunity for Nashville, especially when it comes to supporting technology start-ups.”

The Accelerator Summer Business Institute is an intense month long business boot camp run by the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management. In the program, college students and recent graduates from across the country are immersed in a competitive business environment, working to create the winning solution to real challenges from top local and national companies. The students hone essential skills in marketing, sales, finance, real estate, research and corporate strategy, while participating companies receive the brain power, creativity and proposals of at least eight teams of highly motivated millennials.

The Chamber project will launch June 1. The teams will give their final proposals to Chamber executives and members on June 12.

Other Accelerator projects include:

  • Arrington Vineyards and Winery:  Help Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn with a space design for his growing vineyards to include new entertainment venues and an operating plan for events. 
  • Sony Music Nashville: Aid Sony Music to further develop the 360-degree concept with artists, building on the idea that Sony creates brands – and those brands extend beyond music to live venues and concerts, merchandising, Web sites, etc. 
  • Coca-Cola Enterprises: Interview millennials to see if they’re responding positively to Coca-Cola’s recent corporate responsibility and sustainability (CRS) efforts and create marketing ideas to help promote Coca-Cola’s CRS goals.
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of TN:  Create a social network for BCBST and Gordian that protects an individual’s right to privacy while providing the opportunity to link people with similar illnesses, interests and wellness goals to share relevant information. This forum would also be a method for people to gain access to resources and expert opinions. 
  • Cisco & Presidio: Engage millennials in creating a marketing message and go-to-market program on the "intersection" of WebEx and TelePresence technology as an effective business tool by leveraging the “connected generation” of workers today.

For more information on Accelerator visit To follow the progress of the Accelerator students and their projects, check out Accelerator faculty director Michael Burcham’s blog at

Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management is ranked as a top institution by BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times and Forbes. For more information about Owen, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.