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Randy and Jenny Boyd
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Dear friend,
I can’t think of a better way to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month today than with sharing this news about Randy and Jenny Boyd's historic investment in the expansion of Conexión Américas’ lauded culinary incubator and entrepreneurship program. Their $250,000 donation represents the single largest individual gift to Conexión Américas in our 14-year history. 
The Boyd family is providing critical funding to double the size of the commercial kitchen, to soon serve 50 food entrepreneurs. The investment will also support adding a coworking commons, which will address the high demand from the food and other entrepreneurs we serve for access to basic office infrastructure needed to run a business, such as printers, wifi, workstations and a conference room. 
Most importantly, the Boyds are investing in the entrepreneurial drive of talented cooks who hail from all over the world and from right down the road.

The culinary incubator and coworking commons will be able to support at least 50 entrepreneurs who are inspired to create food businesses building upon the rich cooking traditions of their home countries or family recipes. Access to an affordable licensed kitchen is one of the greatest barriers for scalability and success for food entrepreneurs of all kinds and stages of business development. We are honored that the Boyd Family chose to invest in this collaborative and creative space that helps create new businesses, livelihoods and jobs in our Nashville community.
Our commercial kitchen and culinary incubator was the first of its kind in Nashville when we opened it in 2013 as part of our larger project, the Casa Azafrán community center. The incubator provides an affordable, shared facility for the booming number of food entrepreneurs who need licensed space for food preparation, processing and storage. Today, the incubator is home to a community of 25 businesses —with a waiting list just as long— including mobile food trucks, market retailers and catering enterprises owned by and employing men and women of diverse backgrounds, both immigrant and native-born.
Budding entrepreneurs receive training and coaching on how to launch and grow a food business successfully. The incubator also provides a built-in network of peers who share knowledge, connections and support in a highly demanding industry. 

Explaining the family’s decision to invest in Conexión Américas’ culinary incubator and entrepreneurship program Randy Boyd said,
“Too often we think of entrepreneurship as the next Google or Facebook, but entrepreneurship takes many forms.  Whether the next billion dollar high tech firm or the next flower shop, they are all very important.  One area that is underserved but has tremendous potential is food entrepreneurs.  Whether starting a catering service, a restaurant or a new consumer product, opportunities abound. And the cost to start is small.  All one needs is access to a licensed commercial kitchen.  Conexión Américas culinary incubator is providing that opportunity.  Jenny and I are happy to be able to support their expansion and to provide an opportunity for more culinary entrepreneurs.  Who knows? One may become the next Tennessee Bun Company, Mars, or Bush's.” 
Mr. Boyd is an entrepreneur who founded Radio Systems Corporation. He is also owner of Boyd Sports LLC. He currently serves as the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. Mrs. Boyd is owner and operator of Boyd’s Jig and Reel, a Scottish pub in historic downtown Knoxville.

The expansion of Conexión Américas’ culinary incubator is part of a larger expansion of our home Casa Azafrán. Metro Nashville Public Schools is also expanding the Casa Azafrán Early Learning Center by adding one more classroom to serve 16 children with exceptional needs for a total of 96 children at the pre-K center, and we are thankful for their continued partnership.
I hope you will join us, the Boyd family and Metro Nashville Public Schools to celebrate the opening of the new spaces and meet —and taste the creations of— many of the culinary entrepreneurs on November 17th from 4pm-6pm {RSVP here}.
Renata Soto
Co-founder and Executive Director
P.S. I have been working on my playlist for #TheLatinParty, and I hope you will join me to dance! We will have an amazing live salsa band, but I have my playlist ready for the DJ break. See you September 24th at The Cannery Ballroom {tickets here}.
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