Entrepreneur Center tweets, deletes Occupy Wall Street jabs

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 5:12pm

A registered nonprofit organization that calls itself a community resource to help entrepreneurs has weighed in — at least via twitter –– on the politically charged Occupy Wall Street protests that have popped up across the nation, including in Nashville.

A day after a few hundred protesters staged a rally on Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Tennessee Legislative Plaza, the downtown Nashville-based Entrepreneur Center –– the beneficiary of public dollars –– used its official twitter page to point to a counter protest to its more than 2,000 followers: 

“Trend Alert! #iamthe53 counterprotesting the occupy wallstreet protests! Entrepreneurs Unite!” read one tweet, dated Oct. 7.

A subsequent tweet alluded to “Obamacare,” arguing that the new federal health care law “created regulatory uncertainty that’s keeping investors from entering the market.”

The second tweet again used the “hashtag” #iamthe53. The expression is often used to represent the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income taxes and to show contrast with the Occupy Wall Street protesters who, it is assumed, are part of the 47 percent who don't.

The local political blog Enclave first reported the center’s tweets. Shortly after The City Paper contacted the entrepreneur center on Tuesday, these and other tweets appeared to have been erased.

“Within the bigger context of economic development and job creation, there is frustration across the country about the status of the economy,” Clay Jackson, the entrepreneur center’s director of marketing and communications told The City Paper. “The Occupy Wall Street protests, as such to me, are very undefined as far as what their goals are.”

Jackson seemed to downplay taking sides in the ongoing protests.

“The [Entrepreneur Center] stands behind people who are trying to create jobs and build companies,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s a side for us to fall on within that debate. If you see us as weighing in, it’s weighing in on the side of people who are trying to create jobs, to build great companies.”

In September, the Entrepreneur Center landed a $2.5 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to help fund the construction of new facilities at Rolling Mill Hill. According to the Nashville Post, the grant’s dollar-figure marked the largest in Middle Tennessee history.

A combination of private and public dollars funds the entrepreneur center, which connects fledgling entrepreneurs with the investors, mentors and resources they need to accelerate the launching of startup businesses.

Mike Byrd, who publishes the Enclave blog, said he was surprised and concerned to see the entrepreneur center weigh in on the Occupy Wall Street protests.

“Given their mission, I would think that this organization would want to remain neutral and above the fray,” Byrd said.

“It’s a little too partisan for a non-profit group to get involved with, especially given that they’ve received so much money from the federal government,” he said.  

9 Comments on this post:

By: imdyinhere on 10/12/11 at 5:35

When you look at who's behind Entrepreneur Center, it should quickly become apparent its main purpose is making sure the Good Old Boys' Club keeps its finger in the pies being baked by people who were and are starting to create wealth on and within their own circles.

By: Redbarron06 on 10/12/11 at 5:45

A non-profit group does not get to voice an opinion?

Bitterly clinging to my bible, my guns, and my Constitution.

By: imdyinhere on 10/12/11 at 5:56

If Hands On Nashville or any non-profit performing a genuine public service was directing people to join the OWS protests, any number of people would be screaming fior HON's 501c3 status on a platter.

By: JohnGalt on 10/12/11 at 7:22

There would have been no complaints had the messages urged people to join the OWS "protest".

By: macjedi on 10/12/11 at 9:06


If they wanna do that, they need to NOT be 501 nonprofit. Those jackasses are breaking the law by politically posturing on actual single issues.

Read a book.

By: DREIFMA on 10/12/11 at 2:46

We need to distinguish between hard majors such as medicine, physics, math, engineering, finance and accounting versus soft majors, sociology, music, art, psychology, communications etc. More and more graduates are finding their degrees arent worth the paper they are printed on. Thats why we have these currently in vogue protests against successful people and organizations. The people of country need to realize that all college degrees do not carry equal value and should get what they believe they are paying for. People seem to like getting tangled up in non pertinant conversations and like to make a big deal out fine points that distract from true solutions to problems.

By: gofer on 10/12/11 at 5:40

Non-profit's regular business is politically speaking on single issues. There are several non-profits that are dedicated to illegal immigration for instance, such as ALIPAC and NumbersUSA. There is nothing forbidding non-profits from speaking out. They cannot speak for or against a candidate for political office. Churches are allowed to speak out on moral issues but not for candidates.

If the govt. hadn't coerced the financial firms into sub-prime loans, none of this wouldn't happened. Go do some research and follow the trail from the "Community Reinvestment Act" to Dodd/Frank. They are protesting the wrong people, besides the banks paid back the money with interest.

The protesters are a joke. Who takes seriously people who want ALL debt forgiven and salaries capped....$28,500 for doctors, 27,500 for nurses and 28,500 for public servants. Listening to the interviews of these groups show they haven't a clue.

By: macjedi on 10/13/11 at 8:04


"Political and Lobbying Activities

Political activities and legislative activities (commonly referred to as lobbying) are two different things and are subject to two different sets of rules and have different consequences of exceeding the limitations. The rules applied in a given situation depend on several issues:

The type of tax-exempt organization (different rules apply to private foundations than to other section 501(c)(3) organizations),
The type of activity (political or lobbying) at issue, and
The scope or amount of the activity conducted."


THUS - As "Obamacare" was a legislative measure, they (depending on their class of NPO) may very well be forbidden.

By: shinestx on 10/13/11 at 6:24

LOL... "I am the 53"... I like that! I am going over to zazzle to get a bumper sticker.

macjedi, you mean a 501 like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that does such a great job (NOT!) of keeping politics out of its mission? That's the first 501(c)(3) that should have its nonprofit status revoked.