TN Placemaker Spotlight: Knoxville Chamber


The Knoxville Chamber of Commerce (Knoxville Chamber) actively seeks to bring economic prosperity to its city, and was looking for assistance to expand their reach to the rural areas of the Knoxville region.

As a recipient of BERO’s Lift TN: Microenterprise grant, the Knoxville Chamber was able to provide free membership to small businesses in rural areas and offer travel reimbursement to attend Knoxville Chamber workshops. This created a “win-win” scenario; the entrepreneurs had access to the resources and the Knoxville Chamber created regional trust with the rural chambers. 

The Knoxville Chamber takes multiple steps to be a successful grantee.  They get complete clarification from the state on what is required and expected.  Scheduling was important to make sure that the Lift TN grants and other grants did not cause confusion. The grant proposal was written with this scheduling in mind.  The Knoxville Chamber also stressed having a great point individual for accounting, someone who is familiar with state grants and the requirements that come with them. 

Sustainability and accountability is imperative to the Knoxville Chamber, which is why they only proposed programs that they would be able to self-finance without the Lift TN: Microenterprise grant.  This practice ensures the growth of the Knoxville Chamber and promotes accountability within their community. 

In the future the Chamber would like to continue expanding to other regions of the state where their programs are needed.  The current expansion has shown that the Chamber’s programs are a good fit for rural areas in need of small business growth.