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TN Placemakers Entrepreneurship Fund

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 well-being.


What is the TN Placemakers Entrepreneurship Fund?

It is a pool of monetary resources dedicated to assisting communities across the state develop and train entrepreneurs and small business owners in three broad and diverse categories.


Why does it matter?

TN Placemakers resolves confusion and fragmentation relative to TNECD’s entrepreneurship and small business development initiatives* by consolidating resources into a single fund.

This increases the overall customer experience by streamlining and simplifying the application process. It reduces time spent on applications to multiple programs over multiple time periods.

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

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

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, etc.

Maximum funding allocation: $15,000/grantee

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.

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.

Maximum funding allocation: $75,000/grantee

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

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.

Maximum funding allocation: $25,000/grantee

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?

Total available: $653,000
Total Awarded: $347,000
(Original total available: $1,000,000)

Max /Grant: $100,000
Funds may be allocated to one, some, or among all three categories of entrepreneurial activity; A 10% match required by grantees. Your match may include cash, dollars from private foundations or private sources, verifiable salary/benefits, among others.


Max funding amount

Assess & Plan


Build & Sustain


Support & Train


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

Who can apply?

  • Nonprofits
  • Educational institutions
  • Government
    (i.e. ED organization, chamber of commerce, development district, public-private partnership, etc.)

How long is the contract?

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

Need more information?


Recorded webinar here.  PDF presentation here.

Previous Information Sessions

City County Region Location Date Time
Winchester Franklin Southern Middle Winchester Livery, 122 N Jefferson St.  Thursday, September 6, 2018 3:00 PM CST
Kingsport Sullivan, Hawkins Northeast Downtown Kingsport Association Wednesday, September 26, 2018 4:00 PM EST
Lawrenceburg  Lawrence Southern Middle Municipal Building, 25 Public Square, Lawrenceburg  38464   Thursday, October 4, 2018 10:00 AM CST
Manchester Coffee Southern Middle The Church, 117 E Fort St., Manchester 37355 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 4:00 PM CST
Somerville Fayette Greater Memphis UT Martin Satellite, 214 Lakeview Rd, Somerville 38068 Thursday, October 18, 2018 10:00 AM CST
Memphis Shelby Greater Memphis AgriCenter 7777 Walnut Grove Rd, Memphis 38120 Thursday, October 18, 2018 2:00 PM CST
Dyersburg Dyer Northwest The Mill, 217 S Mill Ave., Dyersburg 38024 Tuesday, October 23, 2018 10:00 AM CST
Huntingdon Carroll Northwest The Dixie Performing Arts Center, 191 Court Sq, Huntingdon, TN 38344 Tuesday, October 23, 2018 2:00 PM CST
Athens McMinn Southeast Goodfriend Seminar Room in Elliott Hall, 204 East College Street, Athens 37303  Wednesday, October 24, 2018 10:00:00 EST
Sparta White Upper Cumberland Happy Trails Brewing Company, 36 E. Bockman Way, Sparta 38583 Wednesday, October 24, 2018 2:00 PM CST
Centerville  Hickman Southern Middle Emergency Operations Building, 550 Hwy 100, Centerville  37033  Thursday, October 25, 2018 10:00 AM CST
Nashville Davidson Northern Middle NBIC, 1009 3rd Ave N Suite 100, Nashville 37201 Friday, November 9, 2018 10:00 AM CDT
Webinar Online N/A

Recorded webinar here.

PDF presentation here.

Thursday, November 15, 2018 10:00 AM CDT

Documents you need: Budget Template  and Grant Payment Form

For additional information:
Recorded webinar here.  |  PDF presentation here