The Knoxville Chamber’s Propel Protégé Mentorship Program held their 2019 Graduation and Salute to Mentors on July 18. Held at the Old City’s Relix Varitey Theatre, the graduation marked 10 years of the program’s success in supporting small business growth. It honored its graduates, thanked their mentors, and welcomed in a new class of protégés.

Graduating companies included: A&A Investigation and Consulting Group, Anthony Houde Graphic & Motion Design Studio, Baxter Talent, Carribbean Soul – Authentic Jamaican Food, GateWay Delivery, Harper’s Naturals Skin Care Products, Joyce Development, MBK Wellness, Specialty Concrete Solutions, The Flying Locksmiths (Knoxville, TN), and Walking with Joy – Grief and Loss Recovery.

“The overarching goal of Propel is to grow revenue and jobs for the small business participants,” said Minter, director of small business at the Knoxville Chamber. “While revenue and jobs are essential, we also aim to increase the self-awareness, knowledge, and business development maturity of each firm. The ultimate measure is that after two years the firm can look back and find themselves better off after their experience in Propel.”

Propel prides itself on its economic inclusion and the diversity of the people and industries in the program. It is designed for small, women-, veteran-, and minority-owned businesses, and pairs established community business leaders with a protégé that is relatively new to the marketplace. Protégés have represented over 30 different industries with revenues between $100,000 to $500,000 and two to six employees.

The Propel program is available to 15 Chamber of Commerce participants and its partners include the Small Business Development Center and SCORE of Greater Knoxville. Supporting sponsors of the program include the Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, SunTrust, and the Tennessee Economic and Community Development department.

View the photos: