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Memphis Daily News
Something In The Water
December 14, 2017
By Dr. Mary C. McDonald

The Society of Entrepreneurs in Memphis held a book signing and panel discussion at Novel bookstore last week for the society’s book, “There’s Something in the Water.” The book commemorates the 25th anniversary of the society and profiles the entrepreneurial accomplishments of each member.

The organization, founded by Walker Uhlhorn, is committed to “fostering the development of the entrepreneurial spirit and to recognize the contributions of entrepreneurs to business and the community.”

The force behind the event was Pearson Crutcher, executive director of the society, who firmly believes “Memphis is a special place because of the people who live here. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well here.” Prior to the signing, five members of the society participated in a panel discussion of what it takes to be an entrepreneur: Mike Bruns, Don Hudson, Uhlhorn, Duncan Williams and myself.

While we answered questions such as, “What qualities are necessary to be a successful entrepreneur?” and “What advice would you give to someone starting a business?” the one question that really captured the spirit of the event and of Memphis was, “Memphis is known for having a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Why do you think this is?” I looked at the audience and said, “Because of you.”

The audience was composed of a broad cross-section of Memphis. However, the clear majority in attendance were millennials. These young, enthusiastic, vision-rich members of our community, eager to live out their dreams and new ideas, were there to learn.

They are the reason we were there that night, to give back, to reach out and help others who have a burning passion to make a difference, or who have a great business concept or a new way to deliver an old product but don’t know where or how to start. The goal of the event was to mentor someone else into their vision.

Memphis is like that. The reason this is such a “hot” city for people just starting out, or for those who want to start their own business, is because it is a place of endless opportunity and an endless supply of seasoned entrepreneurs who see their next opportunity as helping another generation of entrepreneurs get started and live their dreams.

Entrepreneurship has reigned in Memphis from its very start as an outpost on a bluff, to centuries later as a nexus for a global economy.

Over the decades, dozens of entrepreneurs built legendary businesses that changed the way we live and work. Thousands more added to our quality of life and our economic growth by their hard work of making their entrepreneurial visons, in all fields of endeavor, a reality.

So, drink up; there is something in the water. It is a legacy of support, encouragement and empowerment given to all who are willing to work hard to make their vision for the next great idea a reality.

What’s in the water will continue to make Memphis a better place for all.

Contact Dr. Mary C. McDonald, a national education consultant, at 574-2956 or visit

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