Five Finalists Selected in Churchill Mortgage’s Young Entrepreneur Contest

-Finalists to pitch business idea for final time to win $35,000 in cash and prizes-

BRENTWOOD, Tenn.--()--Churchill Mortgage has named the top five finalists of the Young Entrepreneur contest, who will now pitch his or her business idea for a final time on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Based on these final presentations, one winner will be selected to win more than $35,000 in cash and prizes, including a one-year E|Spaces membership, an opportunity to attend Dave Ramsey’s weeklong “EntreLeadership Master Series” workshop, and ongoing strategic guidance from Churchill’s senior management team and other local business professionals. The winner will also receive a three-month course at Entrepreneur Center in Nashville, a non-profit organization that helps start businesses and create jobs through the support of leading corporations and other successful entrepreneurs.

Those selected to participate in the final round include:

Listen Up

Mykas Degesys, Founder

Listen Up is a Spotify and web-based App that helps fans keep track of their favorite artists, lets them participate in promotions where they can win exclusive items and has a social component that allows them to track other fans of the same artists. The back-end data analytics helps artists understand their fan base on a deeper level. Founded by both Mykas Degesys and Ben Fruin, Listen Up’s goal is to help artists make money by increasing concert attendance and deepening engagement among fans. The two business partners first formulated the idea while taking a music business course together at Vanderbilt’s business school. For more information, visit or Facebook.

“Spotify is one of the greatest music discovery vehicles of our time,” said Fruin. “The rise of third party Apps has created numerous opportunities to explore vast musical landscapes, while sharing these experiences in a social context.”

“Listen Up is at the cutting edge of the music industry,” Degesys added. “The Young Entrepreneur Contest has been a tremendous platform to share our ideas. It’s been an exciting journey.”


Patrick J. Woodyard, Founder and CEO and Nick Meyer, VP of Sales

Through the sale of handmade, quality-driven footwear products, Nisolo is redefining what success means today. Each product is a unique work of art that exemplifies the beauty and diligence of its maker. Nisolo's goal is to empower talented artisans in the developing world, allowing them to shape their future by way of their extraordinary work. For more information, please visit or Facebook.

“We are incredibly thankful for Churchill Mortgage and the city of Nashville for the support that Nisolo has already been offered,” said Woodyard. “Without a remarkable home base, our vision to build a world-class lifestyle and footwear brand and empower impoverished artisans around the world would be impossible to fulfill.”

Spanish Lessons with Emily D

Emily Daniel, Owner and Founder

Spanish Lessons with Emily D’s goal is to teach the Spanish language in an applicable, flexible and enjoyable way to children and adults, personalized to each student’s language level, learning needs and personality. For more information, visit or Facebook.

“After teaching Spanish in a classroom at different schools, I realized a significant focus and pressure on meeting state standards – memorizing verb conjugations and inapplicable vocabulary,” said Daniel. “Unfortunately, after years of studying many students are left unable to speak Spanish conversationally; therefore, I saw a need for a different approach. Since our founding in 2011, we’ve experienced tremendous success, and being named a finalist by proven, successful business professionals and other entrepreneurs is an absolute honor. I can't thank Churchill Mortgage enough for giving young entrepreneurs this amazing opportunity for growth and mentoring.”

Sweet Meat Jerky

George Livingston, Founder

Sweet Meat Jerky is a new and upcoming company, introducing a healthy, rich snack. Its beef jerky is made with organic ingredients and contains absolutely no preservatives or additives. For more information, visit or Facebook.

“On the eve of our final year in college, we began questioning our purpose in the world,” said Livingston. “Having spent the previous four years studying Finance and Economics, we recognized that we were entrepreneurs at heart. Craving a change of pace, we began to search for inspiration and have since tirelessly re-engineered beef jerky to create an organic product that is delicious and healthy. We’re thrilled that our vision and hard work have paid off and look forward to the final round of the contest.”

The PictureBooth Co.

Ross Chandler Hill, Founder and CEO

PictureBooth’s mission is to provide high quality photo booths for events at an affordable price. Unique within the marketplace, PictureBooth features on-site editing capabilities as well as social media integration, enabling customers to quickly share pictures on his or her social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. For more information, visit or Facebook.

“Having spent the last five years in the event industry, I quickly realized a demand for affordable photo booths,” said Hill. “With PictureBooth, consumers not only have a lower-cost option, but one that meets today’s social media demands. I’m honored to share my ideas with esteemed business leaders and entrepreneurs of Nashville, and look forward to my final pitch.”

“The quality and uniqueness of these final business ideas are outstanding,” said Mike Hardwick, president and founder of Churchill Mortgage. “We’re excited for each of the individuals and have no doubts they will all be successful, regardless of the contest’s outcome. With bright futures ahead, Emily, George, Mykas, Patrick and Ross have proven to be true entrepreneurs and possess the skills necessary to support economic growth across Middle Tennessee. I look forward to their final presentations.”

About Churchill Mortgage

Founded in 1992, Churchill Mortgage is a prominent and financially sound leader in the mortgage industry, providing conventional, FHA, VA and USDA residential mortgages across 26 states. Unique within the industry, it is the only mortgage lender endorsed by nationally syndicated radio personality and personal finance expert and author, Dave Ramsey. Through its consultative approach to lending and strong commitment to local communities, the lender focuses on the right loan product for each borrower, providing the education and tools necessary to ensure borrowers’ financial stability. For more information about Churchill Mortgage, visit or follow them on Twitter @ChurchillMtg and Facebook at


For Churchill Mortgage
Mary York Cox, 678-781-7217
Michael Touchton, 678-781-7215

Release Summary

Five Finalists Selected in Churchill Mortgage’s Young Entrepreneur Contest Finalists to pitch business idea for final time to win $35,000 in cash and prizes


For Churchill Mortgage
Mary York Cox, 678-781-7217
Michael Touchton, 678-781-7215