Community Quick Links
Resources to help your businesses and communities deliver better, with topics from advocacy to data collection, art to agriculture to tech.
From programs to advocacy to data, and from art to agriculture to tech, accessing resources helps you deliver better.
- Agricenter International – the world’s largest urban agricultural research and education facility
- Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs – a data resource (see BERO annual report)
- The Aspen Institute – is an educational and policy studies organization
- Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) - national membership organization and voice of microbusiness development in the United States
- Center for Rural Entrepreneurship – helps community leaders build a prosperous future by supporting and empowering business, social and civic entrepreneurs.
- Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) – emergency resources for artists
- Edward Lowe Foundation – conducts educational programs and provides information and recognition for second-stage entrepreneurs.
- Global Entrepreneurship Week – the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups
- Kauffman Foundation – works to advance entrepreneurship education and training, to promote startup-friendly policies
- Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) – membership based, global business network
- Entrepreneruship.org – entrepreneurship, innovation, education, research and policy
- Open IDEO – an open innovation platform
- Rural Policy Research Institute – provides unbiased analysis and information on the challenges, needs, and opportunities facing rural America
- National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) – membership based, advocacy and resources for small business
- Nonprofit assistance – Alliance for Better Nonprofits, Center for Nonprofit Management and Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence
- Social Enterprise Alliance – champion for social enterprise in the US
- Your Economy (YE) – a source of economic data about business establishments, jobs and sales across the United States
Resources: State (s) and Federal (f)
- 8(a) Business Development Program (f) - helps small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace.
- 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)
- HUBZone (f) - helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities
- 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, SBA sponsored (f) - mentors, business counselors
- Small Business Administration (f) - access to capital, contracting programs
- TN Export (s) – export assistance to small and mid-size businesses
- Tennessee Small Business Development Centers (s) - workshops, business consulting
- TN Smart Start Guide (s) - a small business and startup guide, financing snapshot, overall how-to
- UT Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) - 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 (self-employment match grants).
If you want to search for grants for your business, be careful about the information you provide. To search for available grants go to Grants.gov, which is a federal database of grants, or go to Grants and Resources, a compilation of various grants and resources in Tennessee.
- Your credit matters when it comes to financing your business. Be sure to know where you stand.
- Many people ask about setting up a nonprofit so they can apply for and receive grants. It is not that simple. CNM has a checklist to get you started.