When I asked for recommendations a couple of weeks ago for sites to feature in our "Never Mind the Valley" series, I was overwhelmed with the response. It's quite encouraging, in light of all the reports of global recessions, slumps, and downturns, to hear from so many people saying that their community is a thriving site for entrepreneurship. You can still send me your recommendations, and I'll be working my way through them in the coming weeks and months.

But we'll kick things off with Nashville.

"The home of country music," Nashville is known for its large music and tourist industry (although the area's largest employer is actually the health-care sector). Not surprising, then, the area has a sizable "creative class" as well as a tech-inspired community that drives several events, Ignites, and unconferences like BarCamp Nashville, PodCamp Nashville, and Nashville Startup Weekend.

Nashville has a generally favorable climate for small businesses, boasts several co-working spaces, and has numerous colleges - Vanderbilt, Belmont and Lipscomb, for example. There's a pipeline of talent here although echoing what we hear in a lot of places, there's always a need for "more engineers."

Incubating and Training for Startups and Small Businesses

Nashville's seed-stage microfund Jumpstart Foundry recently made a pivot to become a full-fledged tech business incubator. It is getting ready to kick off its call for submissions for The Foundry, a 14-week, mentor-driven program that will help identify and fund six startups.

Also, Jumpstart Foundry is offering a number of continuing education classes - Jumpstart Fundamentals - geared toward startups and small businesses and aimed at helping participants expand their technical skills. The first class, "Startup on Rails," and focused on Ruby on Rails, begins next month.

According to Lucas Hendrickson, the communications manager for Jumpstart Foundry, points to Nashville's blend of traditional and new media worlds and says there are a lot of opportunities for as some of the cities more established industries "find their way into the new (and somewhat unfamiliar) tech-driven world."

Photo credits: Flickr user debaird