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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


About Grants

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, 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...

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.

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