Inside Memphis Business
by Jon W. Sparks and Samuel X. Cicci

What's happening: Congratulations innovators!
News from other sources: Bikes and scooters
Upcoming: Total Woman Summit
Hot Sheet: Who’s going where
Power Player: Beverly Robertson
Quotable: Trey Moore

Congratulations to the winners of Inside Memphis Business' Innovation Awards. The honors are being handed out this morning at the Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis. The awards, in co-operation with the Fogelman School of Business and Economics, are being given to:

- RemediChain's Phil Baker and Ayilé Arnett. Memphis-based RemediChain is working to eliminating wasted medication, using blockchain technology to change the face of prescription donation.

- Ekundayo Bandele, founder of Hattiloo Theatre. Hattiloo is the only freestanding Black repertory theatre in five surrounding states and one of only a few in the nation.

- Jay Martin and his team at My City Rides: Andy Nix, Megan Klein, and Jason Williford. MyCityRides makes reliable transportation affordable and ownership possible for those in the workforce with limited means. 

- Mark Pryor at The Seam. The Seam created the world’s first completely online, anonymous exchange for cotton, and since then has leveraged its software and application development expertise in agriculture to expand into other commodity segments, including peanuts. 

Read their stories in the current edition of Inside Memphis Business and online here.


- Happy holidays! According to CNBC: Shoppers are expected to spend 5 percent more this year than they did last year. Around 53 percent of all holiday shopping is expected to be done digitally, so don’t expect big crowds at the mall. This growing shift could even impact how consumers purchase items on big shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

- Comcast is increasing download speeds for some of its Xfinity Internet packages for Memphis customers. Beginning today, download speeds for the company’s Performance tier will jump from 60 Mbps to 100 Mbps, while Blast! speeds will increase from 150 to 200 Mbps, Extreme will move from 250 to 300 Mbps, and Extreme Pro will be upgraded from 400 to 600 Mbps. About 85 percent of Comcast’s Internet customers in Memphis subscribe to one of these tiers and will have their download speeds upgraded, whether they purchase Xfinity Internet on a stand-alone basis or as part of a package.

- Kayla Rodriguez Graff, co-founder of Memphis startup SweetBio, is one of 22 female founders in the United States who participated this week in a Senate Women's Entrepreneurship Roundtable in Washington. Rodriguez Graff is the only founder from Tennessee and will discuss her startup experience in Memphis with the bipartisan U.S. Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus. SweetBio won an Inside Memphis Business Innovation Award in 2016.

- There's so much bike sharing along with a boom in scooters in Memphis. Can they co-exist? Read Maya Smith's story in the Memphis Flyer here.

- Should Memphis jump at the opportunity being provided by Opportunity Zones? Christopher R. Hanewald argues in the affirmative in the Memphis Business Journal here.

- June West is stepping down as head of Memphis Heritage, although will still be involved in preservation. Read Tom Bailey's story in the Daily Memphian here.

- A planned five-story warehouse in Raleigh could be occupied by Amazon. Read Desiree Stennett's story in The Commercial Appeal here.


- 3rd Annual Total Woman Summit: Sherica Hymes’ event empowers women through education, connection, and community with this year’s theme of SOARing in every phase of life. Saturday, September 28th, 10am-3pm. Great Hall & Conference Center, 1900 S. Germantown Rd., Germantown, TN. $75/person; $1,000/VIP table. Register here.

- The Memphis Grilled Cheese Fest is Sunday, Nov 10, 2019, from noon to 6 p.m. at 412 N. Cleveland. It's family-friendly and dog-friendly, benefiting ALIVE Memphis Rescue. More info here.
- Need to know what to do this weekend? Check out Memphis Magazine's Five Things To Do This Weekend here.
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Who's getting promoted? Who's closing big deals? Who's getting awards? Inside Memphis Business magazine's Hot Sheet has the latest on milestones in Memphis.

- Grace Medical recently completed the acquisition of EndoEar Endoscopic Instruments.

- The Shelby County Commission awarded a $50,000 grant to Agricenter International, which matches the TVA InvestPrep Grant earlier this month.

- LeMoyne-Owen College announced Dr. James J. Bishop as the school’s 2020 inaugural national annual fund campaign chair.
- Barbara Kirk-Norris (pictured) joined Trezevant as associate chaplain.

- Mark Pryor, chairman and CEO of The Seam, was appointed to the Technology Advisory Committee of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.

- Life sciences startup Hera Health Solutions was named a Global Top 10 Healthcare Startup at the South Summit Madrid Showcase in Spain.

Inside Memphis Business magazine publishes a list of local Power Players every year. These are the movers and shakers in more than 30 categories who get things done in their respective fields. IMB’s April issue has the complete list. We also publish individual categories in other issues throughout the year, and we feature individual Power Players in our weekly Tip Sheet.
This week’s Power Player is Beverly Robertson, president & CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber. Graduate, U of M; Wharton School of Business executive program. Former president, National Civil Rights Museum. Principal, TRUST Marketing, where she has landed national accounts like Promus Companies, Holiday Inn Worldwide, Midas International, Merrill Lynch, and others. Locally, has worked with City of Memphis, LeMoyne-Owen College, Shelby County Government, and Memphis Area Transit Authority. More than 30 years of experience in public/community relations, communications, strategic planning, and research.
For the complete list of Inside Memphis Business Power Players, go here.

"All of Memphis is benefiting from this usage. We're starting to see habits changing, and people are discovering how to use these new modes of transportation in ways that are convenient and benefit their daily experience."

- Trey Moore, executive director of Explore Bike Share, on the proliferation of bikes and scooters in the city, as reported in the Memphis Flyer here.
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