Pierce follows dreams to Nashville, hopes to bring jobs home to Elizabethton

Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2020

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Sometimes leaving home to follow your dreams is necessary.
This was the case for Brandon Pierce, a Carter County native and now student at Middle Tennessee State University.
Pierce said his decision to move to Nashville came after switching his major from nursing to business in the fall of 2017. Prior to this, Pierce had his own online marketing business. He decided to move to have more opportunities in regards to his business ideas. His desire to create and think outside the box, however, has existed since childhood.
“When I went to Nashville, I just wanted to find out what a large city had for more opportunities,” he said.
Upon enrolling at MTSU, he recalled looking around Nashville for what it was he could do. His first semester at the university, he heard about a business competition for anyone in the business program. This involved creating a business model, marketing and sales strategies.
“I sat and thought, what would I want to do if I could open a business that could be across the state of Tennessee or even across the nation,” he said. “Nothing I thought about seemed to be something I wanted to pursue long term, until I started to remember my passion for renewable energy and inventions. So that ended up leading me to entering the competition with an idea for energy production on college campuses.”
In the months leading up to the competition, Pierce described researching and teaching himself various things about energy production and carbon emissions removal, including costs, plans, materials, etc.
Pierce’s renewable energy idea is ultimately engaging and adaptable for clients. This is also an idea that can be linked to aspects like schools, tourism and job creation.
“I spent every waking hour just teaching myself stuff, rewriting the business plan, rewriting the sales pitch, rewriting everything,” he said. “Any free time I had, I spent working on it, or staying up all night.”
Pierce ended up making it to the final round of the competition, and while he did not win for the school, his idea was different than others, which were more based on items like clothing and food sales. He ended up winning the outside investor’s award.
From there, Pierce wondered what he would do from there.
“I realized what I had done could go farther than MTSU,” he said.
He ended up having meetings with the cities of Nashville and Knoxville, and MTSU. He was encouraged to continue moving forward with the idea, and to make some big connections, being recommended to do so with a private investment.
“I kind of got motivation from that, they saw the benefit,” he said.
Since his time in the business competition, Pierce’s ideas continued flowing. He was set to participate in the business competition again this year, which he made it to the second round in, before it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Along the way, Pierce described impressing his professors, who ultimately nominated him for 11 Forbes 30 Under 30 nominations. He is also now part of the Launch Tennessee’s student mentorship program, which provides connections to mentors and investors. In August, students compete in the 36/86 festival in front of thousands of people, with the winner receiving $20,000 and the chance to move to a two-year program. He is also part of the Global Vision Program, which also connects students with mentors all over the world.
He is currently still working with his ideas and seeking grants. Pierce hopes to bring his idea to life in Nashville, but also ultimately bring this back home to Elizabethton.
In reflecting on his work so far, which he is far from done, he has some advice for young dreamers.
“If you have a dream and you know it’s something you love, your age doesn’t matter,” he said.

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