Nashville Entrepreneur Center Announces 2022 Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame Inductees


One of the biggest award shows in the city is scheduled for Oct. 24 to honor Middle Tennessee entrepreneurs and city legends

Nashville Entrepreneur Center (EC) has announced its new inductees to be welcomed into the Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame. The individuals will be formally honored at the 2022 NEXT Awards on Oct. 24, taking place inside the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. This year’s class includes:

  • André Prince: Prince is the owner of the legendary Nashville hot chicken shack, Prince’s Hot Chicken, which her family founded and has been serving Nashville for nearly a century. Since taking the reins from her uncle in 1980, Prince has transformed one of Nashville’s historic restaurants into a must-visit destination in Tennessee for all locals and tourists. Under her leadership, Prince’s hot chicken is now a recipe craved worldwide.
  • Amy Kurland: Born in Oklahoma and raised in Nashville with parents trained in music and theater, Kurland set out on her own journey to learn culinary arts and founded Nashville’s iconic Bluebird Café in 1982.  She opened the café intending to have a gourmet restaurant with occasional live music. Four decades later, it is one of the most sought-after outlets in Nashville for talented songwriters and artists to debut new material and earn new fans. The cafe holds worldwide recognition as a songwriter’s venue to share their stories and perform their original songs, welcoming more than 70,000 guests annually. In 2008, Amy transferred ownership of the Bluebird to the Nashville Songwriters Association International. She volunteers her time now to voter restoration, helping people with felony records get their voting rights back, and also serves on the board of 202 Friendship House, helping alcoholics find meaningful lasting sobriety.
  • Mike Shmerling: A native Nashvillian, Shmerling began his career in 1977 in accounting at the Nashville office of Ernst & Ernst CPAs. Following 17 years of success in public accounting, he dove into entrepreneurship where he founded or co-founded eleven businesses, four of which were ultimately sold to publicly traded companies. Additionally, he was part of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership 2010 initiative that ultimately created and launched the EC to become the front door for entrepreneurs aspiring to create companies in Nashville. Today, he serves as Chairman of private equity firm Clearbook Holdings Corp., formerly known as XMi Holdings, Inc. His impact in Nashville has extended far beyond his business ventures as Schmerling not only founded Abe’s Garden Community, a  senior living nonprofit focused on brain health, wellness and purposeful living in honor of his father, but he has also served on 25 nonprofit boards over the last 40 years.
  • Steve Turner: Turner is the founder of MarketStreet Equities Company, an investment firm with diversified holdings in real estate and wetlands mitigation environmental preservation. After moving to Nashville from Kentucky in 1986, Turner and his wife, Judy, quickly became active in civic and cultural initiatives including interests in urban revitalization. Through Turner’s leadership in urban revitalization, MarketStreet Equities formed the Nashville Urban Venture partnership which spearheaded the development of The Gulch, one of Nashville’s most vibrant urban districts, known for its dining, entertainment, and shops.

The Nashville Entrepreneurs’ Hall of Fame honors individuals who have built long-standing and meaningful careers in Nashville. Previous inductees include: Dolly Parton, Darrell Freeman, Trisha Yearwood, Cordia Harrington, Leatrice McKissack, Phil Bredesen, Jon Yabrough, among other influential individuals.

“We are proud to honor these incredible individuals who helped shape our entrepreneurial city in so many different ways, said Jane Allen, CEO of the EC. Each inductee exemplifies what it means to be a successful entrepreneur, a leader in the community, and a culture mover. We can’t wait to celebrate with them on what will be a memorable night, and we encourage all to join in on this special celebration.”

The evening is supported by its major sponsors Presenting Sponsor: Amazon; Sage: EY; Pathfinders: Dell Technologies, Electronic Arts, Evolution Event Solutions, Nashville Business Journal, Pinnacle Financial Partners. The co-chairs of this year’s event are Sherry and Mark Deutschmann. Attendees can purchase tickets– only VIP Box Balcony left –and find more details here.

To learn more about Nashville Entrepreneur Center and its programs, click here.

About Nashville Entrepreneur Center

The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (NEC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) founded in 2010 by business leaders who wanted to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and to celebrate the spirit and tenacity of the entrepreneurial community. The NEC serves as Nashville’s center for entrepreneurship, supporting visionaries—from every background, in any industry, and at all phases—by connecting them to critical resources and championing their desire to change the world. Learn more about the NEC by following @entrecenter on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at

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