Small Business Grants In Tennessee

Last Updated on January 16, 2024 by Lori Pace

Are you a small business owner in Tennessee looking for financial support to start or expand your business? Look no further! Tennessee offers many grants and funding programs to help you achieve your business goals. With over $17 billion available, these grants do not require repayment and can be used for various purposes, such as purchasing equipment, funding research and development, or supporting job creation.

From state-funded programs to federal initiatives, Tennessee provides a favorable environment for small businesses to thrive and contribute to the state’s economic growth.

In this article, we will explore the different grant options available in Tennessee and provide valuable insights on how entrepreneurs like yourself can take advantage of these opportunities. We will delve into programs such as the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) FastTrack Economic Development Fund, Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) Financing Assistance, and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Economic Development Programs.

Additionally, we will discuss federal programs like the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. We will also highlight the Amber Grant for Women, a grant specifically designed to support women-owned businesses in the state.

Whether you are just starting out or looking to expand, these grants can provide the financial boost you need to succeed. Stay tuned to learn more about the eligibility requirements and helpful tips for applying for small business grants in Tennessee. 

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) FastTrack Economic Development Fund

The TNECD FastTrack Economic Development Fund offers small business grants in Tennessee. These grants are designed to promote economic growth and support business expansion in the state.

One of the fund’s main objectives is to encourage job creation and stimulate the local economy.

Small business owners, including women entrepreneurs and women business owners, can benefit greatly from these grants. The TNECD FastTrack Fund provides various types of grants to meet the specific needs of businesses, whether they’re looking to start a new venture or expand an existing one. These grants can be used for various purposes, such as capital investments, workforce training, and marketing initiatives.

Nonprofit organizations are also eligible to apply for these state-funded small business grants.

The benefits of small business grants are manifold. They provide financial assistance to entrepreneurs who may not have access to traditional funding sources. By receiving a grant, businesses can invest in their growth and create employment opportunities for the community.

Additionally, these grants help stimulate economic development in Tennessee by attracting new businesses and supporting existing ones. The TNECD FastTrack Fund plays a crucial role in fostering a thriving business environment in the state, and its small business grants are invaluable resources for entrepreneurs looking to achieve their goals. 

Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) Financing Assistance

More than just financial assistance, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) can be a valuable resource for technical support and networking opportunities. Being equipped with such can eventually lead you to better chances of acquiring your much-needed financial aid. 

Here’s what the TSBDC offers:

– Financial Projections: The TSBDC can help you develop accurate and realistic financial projections for your business, clearly understanding your revenue potential and helping you secure funding.

– Technical Assistance: From market research to business plan development, the TSBDC provides technical assistance to help you navigate the complexities of starting and growing a business.

– Nonprofit Organizations: If you’re running a nonprofit organization, the TSBDC can provide guidance on funding strategies, grant writing, and nonprofit management best practices.

– Business Support Organizations: The TSBDC works closely with various business support organizations in Tennessee to connect entrepreneurs with additional resources and opportunities for growth.

With the TSBDC’s state-funded small business grant programs and assistance with business planning, you can access the financial support and expertise you need to turn your entrepreneurial vision into a reality. Don’t let funding be a barrier to your business aspirations – reach out to the TSBDC and unlock the resources to propel your business toward success. 

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Economic Development Programs

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) offers several economic development programs to support regional businesses and drive growth. The TVA aims to provide businesses with the necessary resources and support to succeed in the competitive market.

One of the key programs offered by the TVA is the Valley Investment Initiative or VII. The VII program incentivizes entrepreneurs to make capital investments within the Tennessee region. At the same time, it also grants small businesses incentives for creating new job opportunities for Tennessee people. 

The Rural Development Loan Fund is another TVA Economic Development Program benefit. This funding offers small business owners in rural areas with low-interest loans. The loan is intended to be used to create more jobs and encourage economic development. 

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

Entrepreneurs in Tennessee have a golden opportunity to tap into the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program for funding and support in developing their groundbreaking ideas. The SBIR program, which is coordinated by the Small Business Administration and operates across 11 federal agencies, provides small business grants to encourage research and development with commercial potential.

This program offers funding opportunities specifically targeted toward Tennessee entrepreneurs looking to innovate and bring their ideas to market. By participating in the SBIR program, entrepreneurs can access crucial funding to fuel their small businesses’ growth and success.

Through the SBIR program, entrepreneurs in Tennessee can apply for small business grants that can be used to support research, development, and commercialization activities. These grants are highly competitive, with a rigorous application process that emphasizes technical innovation, feasibility, and commercial potential. However, the potential rewards are significant, as successful applicants can receive funding to advance their innovative projects. 

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program

Explore the opportunities of the STTR program and see how it can propel your innovative ideas forward in Tennessee. The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program is a federal grant program that promotes collaboration between small businesses and research institutions. It aims to foster technological innovation and commercialization by funding research and development projects with both scientific and commercial potential.

As a small business in Tennessee, participating in the STTR program can provide you with valuable resources and funding to accelerate the development of your innovative ideas. By partnering with a research institution, you can leverage their expertise and facilities to advance your technology or product further.

This program provides financial support and access to a network of experts and mentors who can guide you through the commercialization process. The STTR program recognizes the importance of small businesses in driving economic growth and encourages the development of cutting-edge technologies that can be brought to market. 

Economic Development Administration (EDA) Grants

The EDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that aims to promote economic development in distressed communities nationwide. The EDA offers grants in Tennessee to support various economic development projects, including those benefiting small businesses.

One of the EDA grants is the Recompete Pilot Program. This specific program is intended to help small business owners from struggling communities regain economic stability. Through this program, businesses are encouraged to create better job opportunities and close the employment gap for Tennessee locals in their prime age between 25 to 54 years old.

By providing financial support, the EDA grants can help small businesses access the resources they need to grow and succeed. 

Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG)

The Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG) program in Tennessee provides small business owners and entrepreneurs in rural areas with funding opportunities and resources to support economic development initiatives. By offering grants, business loans, and training programs, the RBDG program aims to empower individuals in rural communities to start or expand their businesses.

This program is especially beneficial for female entrepreneurs, as it promotes gender equity and provides financial education to support their success. Through the RBDG program, rural communities in Tennessee have access to the necessary support and resources to thrive in their business endeavors. 

Amber Grant for Women

Get ready, ladies! There’s an incredible opportunity called the Amber Grant that supports women entrepreneurs in their business ventures. This grant program provides funding opportunities for women in Tennessee looking to start or expand their small businesses. The Amber Grant aims to empower women and provide them with the necessary resources to succeed in business.

It is open to women business owners in various industries and offers grants to businesses at different stages of development. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your business to the next level, the Amber Grant can provide the financial support you need.

If selected, women can receive grant funding that can be used for various purposes, including start-up costs, purchasing equipment, marketing, or expanding their business operations. The Amber Grant for Women is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs in Tennessee to access the funding they need to realize their business dreams. 

Why You Should Apply for Small Business Grants

Discover the countless benefits of applying for small business grants and how they can help propel your entrepreneurial dreams forward.

Small business grants can be a valuable time and money-saving resource for entrepreneurs in Tennessee. Instead of spending countless hours searching for funding options or filling out lengthy loan applications, grants provide a streamlined process that can quickly provide the financial assistance you need to jumpstart or expand your business.

Grants offer ongoing funding opportunities to support your long-term business strategic plan.

When you apply for small business grants, you can also gain valuable assistance with business planning. Many grant programs offer resources and support from business professionals and expert business mentors. These experienced individuals can provide guidance, feedback, and advice to help you refine your business goals, develop effective strategies, and make informed decisions. This level of support can be invaluable, especially for new entrepreneurs who may be navigating the complexities of starting a business for the first time.

Furthermore, small business grants often come with incentives to businesses that loans do not offer. While business loans require application and repayment, grants provide funding without the burden of repayment. This reduces financial stress and allows you to focus on growing your business without the added pressure of monthly loan payments.

Taking advantage of small business grants allows you to access the financial resources you need to fuel your entrepreneurial journey and propel your business forward. 

Eligibility Requirements for Small Business Grants

By meeting the eligibility requirements, entrepreneurs can unlock a world of funding opportunities to support their business growth in Tennessee.

Small business grants in Tennessee allow business owners to access financial assistance and expand their operations.

To be eligible for these grants, business owners must meet certain requirements set by the grant programs. These requirements may vary depending on the specific grant program, but common eligibility criteria include being a small business, operating in Tennessee, and having a viable business plan.

Additionally, some grants may have specific requirements based on factors such as industry, location, or target demographic. It’s important for business owners to thoroughly research the eligibility requirements of different grant programs to identify the best funding options for their specific needs.

To apply for small business grants in Tennessee, business owners typically need to go through an application process. This process may involve submitting a formal business plan, providing financial statements, demonstrating the potential impact of the grant on business development, and fulfilling any additional requirements outlined by the grant program. It’s crucial for business owners to carefully follow the application instructions and provide all the necessary documentation to increase their chances of securing funding.

By meeting the eligibility requirements and successfully navigating the application process, entrepreneurs in Tennessee can access various funding opportunities to support their small businesses and fuel their growth. 

Helpful Tip for Applying for Small Business Grants

An essential tip for successfully applying for small business grants is to thoroughly research and understand the specific eligibility criteria of each grant program. Each grant program may have different requirements and priorities, so it’s important to tailor your application to meet their specific criteria.

For example, some grants may prioritize funding for black and Hispanic-owned businesses, while others may prioritize businesses in rural areas or certain industries. By understanding the eligibility criteria, you can ensure that your application aligns with the grant program’s priorities and increases your chances of receiving funding.

In addition to researching eligibility criteria, seeking out business resources and consulting services to assist you in the application process is helpful. Many organizations offer assistance and guidance to small businesses in Tennessee, including help with business planning, financial projections, and grant application preparation.

Taking advantage of these resources can be invaluable in improving the quality and competitiveness of your application. Furthermore, these services can also provide valuable insights and advice on business development strategies and accessing other funding opportunities such as business loans.

By utilizing business resources and consulting services, you can enhance your chances of successfully applying for and receiving small business grants in Tennessee. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for applying for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) FastTrack Economic Development Fund?

To apply for the TNECD FastTrack Economic Development Fund, download the application form and visit their website. Complete the form with accurate and detailed information. Submit the application along with any required supporting documents. Await a decision from the TNECD.

How can the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) assist in financing a small business?

The TSBDC can assist you in financing your small business by helping you access various funding options such as loans, grants, and venture capital. They provide guidance on the application process and connect you with resources to secure the necessary funds.

What types of economic development programs does the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) offer for small businesses?

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) offers various economic development programs for small businesses. These programs include loans, incentives, and technical assistance to help businesses grow and thrive.

How does the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program support small businesses in Tennessee?

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program supports small businesses in Tennessee by providing funding for research and development projects, helping them commercialize innovative technologies and products, and connecting them with potential customers and investors.

What are the eligibility criteria for the Amber Grant for Women, and how can women entrepreneurs apply for it?

You must be a female entrepreneur to be eligible for the Amber Grant for women. To apply, visit their website and fill out the application form. Ensure to provide all the required information and submit it before the deadline. 


In conclusion, if you’re a small business owner in Tennessee, several grant opportunities are available to you. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development offers the FastTrack Economic Development Fund, which provides financial assistance for businesses looking to expand or relocate in the state.

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center also provides financing assistance for small businesses needing capital. The Tennessee Valley Authority also offers various economic development programs to help businesses thrive.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program are great options for businesses involved in research and innovation. These programs provide funding for small businesses engaged in research and development activities.

Women entrepreneurs can also benefit from the Amber Grant for Women, which provides financial support to female-owned businesses.

Applying for small business grants can be a great way to obtain the funding you need to grow and succeed. However, it’s important to ensure that you meet each grant program’s eligibility requirements and follow the application process carefully.

In conclusion, small business grants in Tennessee can provide a valuable source of funding for entrepreneurs. Whether you’re looking to expand your business, conduct research and development, or need financial assistance as a female entrepreneur, grant opportunities are available. Take the time to explore these options and apply for grants that align with your business goals. With the right funding, you can take your small business to new heights of success.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!