MTSU student wins top LaunchTN prize for Theresa’s Twists, where pretzels meet purpose

Photo courtesy of MTSU News 

MTSU junior Theresa Daniels has found a unique way to marry her business idea with Asperger’s syndrome awareness.

The Nashville entrepreneur was diagnosed with this form of autism as a child. Recently, she took the top prize in the social enterprise category of the Launch Tennessee University Venture Challenge. Daniels has raised over $12,000 to invest in her startup Theresa’s Twists — Pretzels with a Purpose.

Daniels’ vision for Theresa’s Twists involves the initial launch of a food-truck business that “sells delicious gourmet soft pretzels and a line of candied pretzels.” She also has plans of opening a permanent location in three-to-five-years.

The primary goal of this business venture is to give job opportunities to young adults struggling with Asperger’s. Employment at Theresa’s Twists will help them with job training, family support and social skills for future employment.

“We have been planning and preparing for five years and building investments so we can start our food truck business,” Daniels said. “We feel it is important to be debt-free in order to sustain the business so we can eventually help more and more people like me. I want to give them hope!”

Theresa’s Twists arose from Daniels’ own “deep, dark, and overwhelming challenge of Asperger’s syndrome.”

Daniels was encouraged to enter LaunchTN by Bill McDowell, chair holder of the Wright Travel Chair in Entrepreneurship at MTSU, who was familiar with Daniels’ startup idea after she won the Community Choice Award and third place overall in last year’s Business Plan Competition by the Jones College of Business.

“Dr. McDowell has been a blessing toward Theresa and our family. He strongly encouraged her to apply,” said Jody Daniels, Theresa’s mother.

“I’ve been more supported at MTSU than at any other university I’ve attended,” Daniels said .

Daniels’ ultimate dream is to also establish Life Point University, a program to educate, equip and experience life skills in a comfortable setting for young adults struggling with Asperger’s.

Learn more at or contact company president John Daniels at 615-873-0507. You can follow them on Facebook at TheresasTwists.

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To contact News Editor Amanda Freuler, email

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