Business

Mitsubishi launches Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network mentoring program

Mitsubishi has teamed up with a Nashville networking organization to launch a new initiative focused on small business startups.

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North America

Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) has teamed up with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to create the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network. The network will consist of a small cohort of entrepreneurs that will convene monthly for networking and monitorship experiences.

All Small Batch events will be virtual. They include networking opportunities, expert-led webinars, and direct access to MMNA executives for in-depth, one-on-one, co-learning time.

"Nashville is a special place, fueled by a bold, creative energy that is especially apparent in its entrepreneur community," said MMNA Chief Operating Officer Mark Chaffin. "Through this partnership, Mitsubishi Motors helps to celebrate individuals who choose to do things differently and think outside the box. Working in concert with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center is our tangible way of showing that."

The announcement comes as Mitsubishi gears up for a rapid release of new and refreshed models over the course of the next year.

Entrepreneurs and small businesses can apply to be part of the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network by clicking here.

From the applicants roster, the partners will narrow the competition to 10 finalists. Those finalists will then pitch for a slot in the network during a live, online pitch competition on Oct. 23. The top five pitches will secure a slot in the Network, and a $2,000 prize will be awarded for the best overall pitch.

At the end of the year-long program, Mitsubishi will conduct a second contest, this time on social media, asking its followers to select a "fan favorite" business. The winner of the second and final competition will receive a six-month Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross loan.

"Our team worked closely with Mitsubishi Motors to build a completely unique program for the Nashville entrepreneur and small business community," said EC CEO Jane Allen. "This type of support, access and exposure is more critical now than ever, and we are proud to partner with Mitsubishi to deliver that."

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The Sakura is Nissan's newest EV.

Nissan

It's no secret that the Japanese get all manner of quirky, cool cars that we don't see here in the States. Sure, there's the Nissan Skyline and Mitsubishi Delica van, but tiny vehicles like kei cars and "minivehicles" are popular imports for Americans looking to diversify their drives. Pint-sized kei cars are ripe for electrification, and Nissan did just that with its new Sakura EV, which comes almost a year after the automaker announced it was working with Mitsubishi to develop tiny electric models. It's one of dozens of new EVs slated to come from the Mitsubishi-Nissan-Renaul Alliance this decade.

Though tiny, the Sakura offers a decent top speed of 80 mph, and its range of around 112 miles could make it an ideal urban runabout for many. That said, there's little chance the car will come to the United States. Japan's minivehicles and kei cars are far smaller than anything currently on sale here. For example, the Sakura's 133.6-inch length makes it almost 18 inches shorter than a Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback, a car that Americans would consider minuscule.

Nissan SakuraThe Sakura borrows features from the Nissan Leaf, including its battery.Nissan

Nissan borrowed the Sakura's 20-kWh battery from the Leaf and says it can be used to provide power for external devices or even power a home for up to a day. The car comes with three driving modes to change the behavior of things like regenerative braking and throttle response, and Nissan says it took further guidance from the Leaf to give the Sakura the quietest cabin in its class.

The Sakura's upright shape likely helps with headroom, but it certainly doesn't increase cargo space, as Nissan claims just 107 liters (4 cubic feet) of room. That said, the car features small-item storage spaces for gear like a smartphone or wallet. Buyers can opt for black, beige, or blue-grey interior colors, and an upgrade package is available that brings a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

There are a surprising number of features packed into the minute Nissan's cabin. A 7-inch digital gauge cluster comes standard, and a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard. Nissan says the car's displays are oriented to reduce distraction and keep the driver's eyes on the road, and ProPilot safety systems are standard, including a new parking assist feature. ProPilot is a stepping stone toward Nissan's goal of debuting autonomous driving tech by 2030.

Nissan SakuraThe Sakura isn't destined for the U.S. - yet, anyway. Nissan

The Sakura goes on sale in Japan this summer. It's priced at 1.78 million yen, or around $14,000. The car will be available for purchase online, and Nissan says it will offer video chats and other resources to help buyers with the process. Buyers will be able to opt for a full in-person buying experience, a completely virtual experience, or anything in between.

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The 2023 Eclipse Cross gets standard all-wheel drive.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi may not be the most popular automaker, but the brand is working hard to improve its models in the U.S. The Eclipse Cross debuted in 2018 and just got an overhaul in 2022. The 2023 model year brings further improvements to the line, including standard all-wheel drive.

Mitsubishi offers the 2023 Eclipse Cross in four trims: ES, LE, SE, and SEL. Pricing for the line starts at $27,090, which includes a $1,295 destination charge. The range-topping Eclipse Cross SEL with Touring Package starts at $32,690.

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross with myQ Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

The Eclipse Cross picks up standard all-wheel drive for 2023, which is Mitsubishi's Super All-Wheel control. The system uses Adaptive Stability Control, Anti-Lock Brakes, and Active Yaw Control to assist with torque vectoring, which shifts power between the rear wheels that need it most.

Mitsubishi updated the Eclipse Cross for the 2022 model year, which brought an updated grille and more LED lighting than anyone would ever need. The stacked light design combines headlights and foglight in a low-mounted position for better visibility and to avoid blinding oncoming traffic. The 2023 model year brings new available 18-inch wheels and standard body-color lower trim for the SE trim and above.

2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross with myQ Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi equips the Eclipse Cross with a few standard driver aids, including lane departure warnings, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, and hill start assist. Higher trims add tech such as blind spot monitors, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot monitors with rear cross traffic alerts, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision mitigation with high-speed braking capability and pedestrian detection.

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