Tennessee Small Business Grants
Tennessee is one of the best states to get a small business loan. However, if taking a loan isn’t your preferred option, it’s worth knowing that Tennessee has several different grant schemes. However, they are all sector-specific and are mostly for organizations that are in the community or heritage sectors.
It’s also worth noting that the state of Tennessee doesn’t provide financial assistance directly to businesses that are starting up or expanding. Instead, the state offers financial assistance to organizations that support small businesses. This normally includes organizations that provide training, technical support, and financing to such companies.
However, it never hurts to explore your options. Some of the grants available to small businesses in Tennessee include:
The Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union (TVDCU) offers several grant options for small businesses within the state through the Idea Leap Grant program. Through the program, five winners receive grants valued at between $2,500 and $20,000 to help them grow their small businesses.
The grant is suitable for for-profit companies operating in TVFCU’s 13-county community, with 2 to 20 employees on the payroll, and annual revenue of under $1.5 million.
The FastTrack Job Training Assistance Program is offered by the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development with the goal to help new and expanding businesses in training full-time employees.
The amount of funding you can receive is determined by multiple factors, including:
- Number of new full-time jobs
- Wages of new full-time jobs
- Amount of company investment
- Types of knowledge and skills that need to be obtained
- Location of the business
If you are planning to apply for one of the small business grants or awards, you may qualify for additional financial support through Launch Tennessee. The program aims to assist Tennessee-based early-stage companies that are developing new technology with the goal of advancing it into the marketplace. As such, through the Launch Tennessee program, you can receive funds to be used for grant-writing assistance.
Keep in mind that to qualify for the program, your company must be referred by one of the members of the Launch Tennessee network, such as an accredited angel investor or a lead mentor.
How to Prepare for a Tennessee Small Business Loan
Every loan provider has different requirements, so what are the small business loan requirements in Tennessee?
Although they are broadly the same, there can be differences. For example, the credit score and time in business required may differ from lender to lender.
Here are some things you can do that are fundamental to any loan application anywhere:
- Check the requirements of each lender that you’re going to approach
- Do everything possible to improve your personal and business credit scores
- Prepare a business plan
- Understand what each lender will allow you to borrow money for
- If your company is already up and running, have financial reports available
- Ensure that your business is registered in Tennessee. Either open it in the state or relocate it there.
The Bottom Line
As with many areas of business, there are offline and online options. Lenders such as banks and credit unions with physical branches are the traditional sources of small business loans. However, the requirements of these institutions are usually quite demanding.
Conversely, online lenders will generally accept borrowers who would normally be considered high risk by the main lenders. Online lenders will often be more relaxed on issues such as documentation and credit scores, which makes it easier to get the funding that you need for your business.
However, online lenders will often have higher charges and interest rates in exchange for the higher perceived risk.
The other disadvantage of mainstream lenders is that the application and approval process can take a long time, whereas some online lenders can give you a decision within minutes. In some cases, they even transfer the funds to you on the same day.
If you want to maintain the momentum you need to open and grow your business, it can be worth applying to online lenders, as online lenders are generally more flexible.