Community Quick Links
Resources to help your businesses and communities with topics from advocacy to data collection, art to agriculture to tech.
Key: (f) federal, (s) state, (o) other
Easy to access resources for ESOs, DBEs, microenterprises, small businesses and entrepreneurs
- Business USA (f) - business resources portal (startup, expansion, exporting, etc.)
- Ctr. for Profitable Agriculture (s) – development and sustainability of value-added agricultural enterprises
- Dept. of Revenue (s) – sales, franchise and excise taxes, workshops
- Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise (s) - registration, certification, contracting (M/W/SDV/SBE)
- IRS, Small Business Center (f) - tax information and filing
- Launch Tennessee (s) - regional entrepreneur centers, INCITE co-investment fund
- Office of the National Ombudsman (f) - assists in resolution of issues concerning small businesses and federal agencies
- Office of Small Business Advocate (s) - assists in resolution of issues concerning small businesses and state agencies
- Opportunity Zones (f) - a federal tax incentive for investors to re-invest capital gains into investing in designated low-income areas
- Pick TN Products, TN Dept. of Agriculture (s) - agribusiness
- Regulatory Boards and Commissions (s) licensing and regulatory boards
- SCORE (o) SBA-sponsored , volunteer mentors, business counselors
- SBA: Small Business Administration (f) - access to capital, contracting programs
- SBA: 8(a) Business Development (f) - helps small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace
- SBA: HUBZone (f) - helps small businesses in urban and rural communities access to federal procurement
- TN Export (s) –export assistance to small and mid-size businesses
- TSBDC: Tennessee Small Business Development Centers (s) - workshops, business consulting
- TN SmartStart™ Guide (s) - (PDF/Interactive) a small business and startup guide, financing snapshot, how-to
- UT Procurement Technical Assistance Center/PTAC (s) - federal, state and local government contracting
Grants…The main thing we can say here: There is a lot of misinformation!
When it comes to grants, while it is true that there are a number of federal grants available to assist small business, women-owned, minority-owned and/or veteran-owned businesses, very few of them actually go directly to the individual business owners. Most federal grants are awarded to nonprofits, governmental entities or educational institutions to provide services and/or loans to those types of businesses.
The state of Tennessee bases its incentives primarily on job creation and investment within qualified industry sectors. The company must also create jobs over a specific period of time and meet certain capital investment criteria. The incentives are provided to qualified companies in the form of tax credits and/or job training reimbursement programs. Most small businesses do not meet the requirements for these types of programs and turn to loans or self-financing as a more viable alternative for financing (see the TN the Smart Start Guide).
For the most part, the grants that go to small business owners generally fall in three areas: value-added agriculture, technology development and commercialization, and vocational rehabilitation (state andUS Veteran's Affairs) offers self-employment match grants. Since COVID and recovery efforts, there are somewhat more, and Hello Alice is a good plan to check, too. To search for available grants, go to Grants.gov, which is a federal database of grants.
Words of caution... If you want to search for grants for your business, use caution. Beware of scams and fraud, and be aware when sharing your personal and business information (i.e. do not give someone your social security or credit card number via text or email - use secure transaction options). The police are a good route in some cases, and you can also learn more and contact at...
- SBA (f): Scams and Fraud alerts
- Federal Trade Commission/FTC (f): business alerts, guidance, how to report
- Consumer Affairs (s): business and consumer resources
Your Credit Your credit matters when it comes to funding for your business. Be sure to know where you stand by checking your credit - Free Annual Credit Report and Credit Repair Kit
Nonprofits Many people ask about setting up a nonprofit so they can apply for and receive grants. Nonprofts are not a that simple. CNM has a checklist to get you started.
Nonprofit assistance – Alliance for Better Nonprofits (East TN), CNM, the Center for Nonprofit Management (Middle TN) and Momentum Nonprofit Partners (West TN)
From programs to advocacy to data, and from art to agriculture to tech, accessing resources helps you deliver better.
Locate, access and deliver better education, tools and resources from art to agriculture to tech for the small business, entrepreneurs and DBEs in your community.
- Agricenter International (o) – the world’s largest urban agricultural research and education facility
- Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs (f) – a data resource (see BERO annual report)
- Appalachian Funders Network (o) – seeks to accelerate an equitable Appalachian transition by convening and connecting funders for learning, analysis, and collaboration.
- The Aspen Institute (o) – is an educational and policy studies organization
- Association for Enterprise Opportunity/AEO (o)- national membership organization and voice of microbusiness development in the United States
- Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (o) – helps community leaders build a prosperous future by supporting and empowering business, social and civic entrepreneurs.
- Craft Emergency Relief Fund/CERF+ (o) – emergency resources for artists
- Edward Lowe Foundation (o) – conducts educational programs and provides information and recognition for second-stage entrepreneurs.
- Entrepreneurs' Organization/EO (o) – membership based, global business network
- Entrepreneruship.org (o) - entrepreneurship, innovation, education, research and policy
- Forward Cities (o) – A national learning network of cities committed to advancing inclusive innovation and economic development in their communities.
- GEW/Global Entrepreneurship Week – the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups
- Kauffman Foundation (o) – works to advance entrepreneurship education and training, to promote startup-friendly policies
- Kauffman |Entrepreneruship (o) - entrepreneurship, innovation, education, research and policy
- National Federation of Independent Business/NFIB (o) – membership based, advocacy and resources for small business
- Nonprofit assistance – Alliance for Better Nonprofits, Center for Nonprofit Management and Momentum Nonprofit Partners
- Open IDEO (o) – an open innovation platformRural Policy Research Institute – provides unbiased analysis and information on the challenges, needs, and opportunities facing rural America
- RUPRI/Rural Policy Research Institute (o) – provides unbiased analysis and information on the challenges, needs, and opportunities facing rural America
- Social Enterprise Alliance (o) – champion for social enterprise in the US
- Your Economy/YE (o) – a source of economic data about business establishments, jobs and sales across the United States