Free government grants are available for small to mid-sized businesses in Tennessee. There is financial assistance for minority and female owned businesses, and the applicant may be given a grant or a loan. Find the main lenders, charities, corporations, and business development centers in Tennessee near you below.
The funds are for any entrepreneur, small business owner (regardless of race), or startup company. However each of the financial assistance programs will be allocated some of the grants and/or loans to minority owned small businesses (including Black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ) or veteran or female owned businesses. Most of the funds are for businesses in Nashville, Knoxville, or Memphis, but there are funds statewide.
In addition to the free government grants or interest free loans, minority as well as female small business owners are given ongoing support. There are free mentoring and business coaching services in Tennessee; help with creating business plans; SEO and online marketing services; networking events and so much more.
Small business loans or free grants for females or minorities in Tennessee
As noted, any business can apply, and the free grant as well as loan programs listed below are updated daily. Each agency or lender will allocate some funds to minorities, women, or other disadvantaged businesses such as veterans, Asian, or LGBTQ among others.
Ongoing and year round help
The City of Memphis, Goldman Sachs, Historical Black Owned Colleges, and Hope Enterprise are working together to help Black women and male owned businesses. Qualified start up companies, or small businesses, can get small dollar loans. Other assistance ranges from business classes to coaching, help with procurement in Tennessee and more. Read more on the Collaborative. https://hopecu.org/deep-south-economic-mobility-collaborative/
Memphis area small businesses, in particular Black owned ones, can get financial help, advice, and coaching from the Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center (Epicenter). Over 50% of their clients are minorities, mostly Black business owners or start-ups. There is help in applying for loans, government grants, technical advice and other support. A major focus is on entrepreneurs too. More information is here. https://www.epicentermemphis.org/
Williamson County Black Owned businesses can get assistance from the Black Business Coalition. Various minority (Black) owned leaders, business owners, corporations, and others partner together to support each other. Learn about grants, workshops, professional development opportunities, networking, low cost loans and other local resources at the coalition. Learn more. https://williamsonchamber.com/bbc/
January 2021 and February 2021
Small businesses located in Memphis can get financial help from a program known as EDGE – Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County (EDGE). Over 80% of the funds paid out from EDGE in the past have gone towards Black, Latino, Female, Asian, and minority owned businesses. $5,000 to $10,000 can be paid out for each qualified business and the money can help pay a variety of bills. The funds are for local business owners – not national organizations. Read more. http://www.growth-engine.org/business-assistance/tax-incentives/edge-neighborhood-emergency-economic-development-need-grant/
The state is providing $50 million in funds in total to small business across Tennessee. It is to help pay the bills and debts that businesses may have incurred due to business shut downs, COVID, extra expenses, and more. This is a government grant program. At minimum 10% of the funds will go to women, minority, veteran owned businesses. The free government grants can pay for payroll costs, rent, mortgages, utility bills, etc. Each applicant can get up to $30,000. Read more https://tncaresact.tn.gov/serg
Black Business Association of Memphis is offering small dollar grants (of up to $300) for black women and male owned businesses. There are also mentoring, coaching, and technical assistance programs. The free grants are only for certain types of industries in Memphis and Shelby County, including cosmetologists, estheticians; personal trainers; hair braiders; barbers; make-up artists, massage therapists; hair stylists; and nail technicians among others that were hit hard by COVID-19. Read more or apply. https://bbamemphis.com/covid-19-fund/
By Jon McNamara