Skip to Main Content

Find COVID-19 Information and Resources

TN Placemakers Entrepreneurship Fund

placemakers

"Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not."  -Nicholas Kristoff

What is a Placemaker?

Placemakers leverage local assets (human and natural) in a way that impacts the cultural, economic and social aspects of their community to intentionally create a good sense of place and enhance a strong sense of community and wellbeing.
 

What is the TN Placemakers Entrepreneurship Fund?

A pool of monetary resources dedicated to assisting communities across the state, from rural to urban, to develop and train small businesses and entrepreneurs by allowing them to obtain funds for broad and diverse activities.

The two groups of funding are (1) Assess & Plan, Build & Sustain, and Support & Train, and (2) Pivot & Recover. Pivot & Recover is a new funding group tied to the impact of the pandemic.


Why does it matter?

TN Placemakers initially resolved the confusion and fragmentation relative to TNECD’s entrepreneurship and small business development initiatives*. Consolidating them into a single fund has increased the overall customer experience and streamlined access to funds for our communities.

Talent is everywhere, opportunity is not, and availability does not equate to equitable access. TN Placemakers strives to help communities provide opportunity through true access for the small businesses and entrepreneurs that are and will be a part of their community. We know those businesses include microenterprises, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses, entrepreneurs with disabilities and those in underserved and underrepresented areas.

 

Want to learn more about Placemaking?

There are a lot of resources! You can find several on the BERO website here under “Community Resources,” through various podcasts on your favorite platform, or reports like one from Brookings, “Why we need to invest in transformative placemaking.”

 

Be A Placemaker

*Note TNECD’s Main Entrepreneur Grants and the LiftTN: Microenterprise, Rural and Urban Core Editions are now under the umbrella of TN Placemakers.

Application Period: Open
Note: Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until funding the program dollars are fully awarded.

What are the application amounts?

Approximate Amount Available: $843,000 (7/1/2020)

Current and past grants here.

There are two funding groups. Applicants may only apply for one group.

(1)  Funds may be allocated to one, some or among all three of the following categories of small business and entrepreneurial activity.

Category

Max funding amount

Assess & Plan

$15,000

Build & Sustain

$75,000

Support & Train

$25,000

Pivot & Recover $100,000

The maximum grant amount is $100,000.

A 10% match required by grantees. Your match may include cash, dollars from private foundations, private sources and/or unmatched federal funds, verifiable salary/benefits, among others.

(1)  Funds to support small businesses and entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19 pivot and recover through technical assistance, operating expenses, technology or microgrant programs.

The maximum grant amount is $100,000 for technical assistance, operating expenses and/or technology with no match requirement; up to $50,000 for microgrants and requires a 1:1 or 50% cash match (in-kind matches are ineligible)

Small businesses and entrepreneurs can find COVID resources here.

All projects must have a clearly defined small business/entrepreneurship development focus.
 

Who can apply?

  • Nonprofits
  • Educational institutions
  • Government entities

This includes ED organizations, chambers of commerce, development districts, public-private partnerships, etc. Nonprofit applicants must be established for at least three years. This grant is not intended to support an individual business; it is for the benefit and support of businesses.


IMPORTANT:

  • Individual businesses are not eligible for TN Placemakers funding. If you are looking for resources for your individual business, visit BERO.
  • To verify that your nonprofit is in good standing in TN, do a business information search here before applying.
  • If you have questions, please email the TN Placemakers team.

How long is the contract?

Up to 24-months, with a general breakdown of…

  • Months 1-18:  Implementation and utilization
  • Months 19-24: Observation period, data reporting, and close-out of the grant

Need more information? Probably… check out some best practices here, and email the TN Placemakers Team with questions. It is better to ask question before applying.

What is it for?

Assessing the small business and entrepreneurship landscape by assisting communities with information gathering and dissemination.
 

What are some of the eligible activities?

Determine gaps in the community and ways to close them which may include, but are not limited to, retail development, tourism, agribusiness, coworking spaces, commercial kitchen incubators, entrepreneurship training services, disaster recovery, etc.
 

How much can we apply for?

The maximum funding allocation is $15,000/grantee.

What is it for?

Increase the success of local small business and entrepreneurs through stabilization and expansion funds to grantees (and subrecipients), directly engaged in small business and entrepreneurial development.
 

What are some of the eligible activities?

Furniture, fixtures, and equipment; offset of operational cost to reach sustainability (i.e. rent utilities, installation of technology like gig service into a building without it, etc.), applied primarily to physical locations, such as commercial kitchens, pop-up shops, coworking spaces, etc.
 

How much can we apply for?

The maximum funding allocation is $75,000/grantee.

What is it for?

Provide access to education, resources, and tools directly to future and existing small businesses and entrepreneurs.
 

What are some of the eligible activities?

Small business and entrepreneurial development activities, including, but limited to, mentor-protégé program, coding classes, popup shops, craft and artisan development (i.e. Etsy), pitch competitions, Co-Starters classes, Economic Gardening, succession and disaster planning.
 

How much can we apply for?

The maximum funding allocation is $25,000/grantee.

What is it for?

Increase the success and stabilization of local small businesses and entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19 through technical assistance, operating expenses, technology or microgrant programs.


What are the eligible activities?

Technical assistance, operating expenses, technology or microgrant programs

Here are some examples:

  • Technical assistance – additional technical assistance to small business owners and entrepreneurs to include strategic planning, legal assistance, financial assistance, etc. to address needs stemming from decrease in or change to business because of COVID-19
  • Operating expenses – funding for operating expenses for the applicant that are directly related to COVID-19. For example, additional staffing needed to start a new program or to expand a program
  • Technology – equipment or other technology needs to help businesses transition to working online
  • Microgrant – development and execution of a microgrant program to assist COVID impacted entrepreneurs and small businesses with operating expenses, technology needs, or other areas that are not supported by other federal and state programs. Condition: (1) requires a minimum of a 1:1 or 50% cash match; (2) no more than $1,000 in State dollars per business, and (3) must include post grant technical assistance for the businesses awarded a grant.

All grantees are required to complete a disaster and continuity planning course provided or approved by TNECD as a condition of the grant award.

 

 How much can we apply for?

  • Up to $100,000 for technical assistance, operating expenses, technology; no match requirement
  • Up to $50,000 for microgrant program; requires a 50% or 1:1 cash match

Read this whole section before you begin working on the application.

Documents you need: Budget Template  and Grant Payment Form

Your application must include these documents in order to be reviewed.
 

Good to know before you start:

  • We strongly recommend that you (1) read all the information on the website carefully, (2) save your work regularly, and (3) ask us questions. Email us at TN Placemakers Team  with your questions.
  • Individual businesses are not eligible for TN Placemakers funding. If you are looking for resources for your individual business, visit BERO.
  • Nonprofits: to verify that your nonprofit is in good standing, do a business information search here . If it is not here and active, then you are not an eligible nonprofit.
  • Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis… That means apply while there are dollars to award for your project!
  • It is better to contact us to ask questions before you apply. Your time is important, and we want to make the most it.


A few recommendations…
As you think about your application and the information you will be including in it, follow these general guidelines:

  • Data dumping is not helpful. Use data but be lean in how you do it. We use and have access to a lot of data. Instead, tell us about who you are working with and/or who you plan to reach, specifically, and why.
  • Explain what you want to do; how you plan to do it; what it will look like when it is completed successfully; and how much it will cost do it.
  • ·If you have key collaborators or partnerships, be sure to include who and how, specifically, you are working together.
  • When explaining the potential challenges and roadblocks, do not humblebrag.

Remember, you are a Placemaker. Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. As you bring opportunities to your community, ask if it is it truly accessible? Availability does not equate to access.

We are excited about the things you will do in your community for the small businesses and entrepreneurs that are and will be a part of it. We know those businesses include microenterprises, minority, women and veteran-owned businesses, entrepreneurs with disabilities and those in underserved and underrepresented areas.

For additional information:  PDF presentation here