"My transformative journey"

- Alice, Surgical Serenity Solutions

Hi, my name is Alice Cash, and I grew up in Clemson, S.C. but have lived in Louisville, KY for almost 50 years! After having a career as a classical piano performer, teacher, and college professor, I decided to get a PhD in musicology.  That led me to a wonderful position at the University of Louisville, School of Medicine, where I was Coordinator of Music and Medicine.  While conducting research there on the healing power of music, I began reading about and witnessing the power of music for patients having surgery.  This led me in 2005 to create my own company, Surgical Serenity Solutions.  I've been an entrepreneur ever since!

I am also a national speaker on the healing powers of music, and I went to an international conference for speakers in 2005 in Cancun, Mexico.  There I took a class on product innovation and had the idea to create pre-programmed headphones for patients about to have surgery.  I knew that there was already lots of research showing that soothing music could reduce the amount of anxiety and pain that a patient experienced, but when I found out that it could also reduce the amount of anesthesia required, I knew that I wanted to take this idea to the public with my pre-programmed headphones.

At that time, I found myself needing an infusion of cash to buy new headphone inventory for the company.  I was introduced to an investor who wanted 10% interest for a $10,000 loan, plus first refusal to buy my company.  I was not at all enthusiastic about that.

A Kiva sponsor here in Louisville suggested I apply for an interest-free Kiva loan.  I did that and I was able to raise the money in the allotted time!  I was thrilled!  I used the money to pay for 500 brand-new headphones and micro-SD cards, paid someone to load our proprietary music on the cards, and paid to have my U.S. patent renewed.  The experience was very positive and engendered lots of interest in friends and family who ended up giving me micro-loans.  Everyone within Kiva was extremely enthusiastic and supportive, and they all told me what a great idea they thought it was!

If I were to give a piece of advice, I would say that if you really believe in your idea, don't let anything deter you.  Be sure to take advantage of all the free business help out there, like SCORE, and be as disciplined and methodical as you can be!


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Kathinka Nakstad