Resources for Startups & Entrepreneurs
Still in the planning stage of starting your new business? We’ve collected a few additional resources to guide you through the first steps, additional education opportunities, and finding affordable work space. View our Getting Started Guide ›
Kiva is a crowd-funded loan for small businesses. Whether your business has been around for a while or its still in the idea phase, all entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for Kiva. Loan terms are typically 6 months to 3 years. All loans are ZERO PERCENT INTEREST. Maximum loan amounts are $10,000, though amounts vary based on how long your business has been in existence. This loan program is administered by Co.Lab. Contact Co.Lab for additional information.
Idea Leap Loans (and Grants)
The Tennessee Valley federal Credit Union (TVFCU) offers a loan of up to $50,000 for eligible small businesses and entrepreneurs. Eligible businesses can be in the idea phase or already in existence. Terms and interest rates vary. Interested businesses and entrepreneurs may not apply directly to TVFCU for this loan, but must apply via a technical assistance provider. The TVFCU also has a limited number of grants available for small businesses. To learn more about the Idea Leap program, visit the TVFCU website HERE.
Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund - Small Business Loans
This program is a loan program for small businesses to help with various costs related to a business’ physical space or presence. This program is primarily available to small businesses that may struggle to access capital via traditional means. Companies must be located in a commercial space for at least one year before applying. Home-based businesses are not eligible to apply. Loan amounts can vary. Maximum loan amount is $25,000. Eligible uses of the funds are:
- facade improvement;
- acquisition of equipment or inventory
- physical renovation or construction
- website development / design
- marketing services
- employee training/certification programs
- acquiring business liability insurance
Loan amounts are tiered and require a match from the applicant:
|Amount Requested:||Match Required From Applicant:|
|$500 – $5,000||12%|
|$5,000.01 – $15,000||18%|
|$15,000.01 – $25,000||25%|
All businesses seeking to apply for this program must be partnered with a technical assistance provider. Why? Because the technical assistance providers provide advice, counseling, and educational opportunities to help business owners become better business owners. The technical assistance providers help business owners think strategically about how to grow their businesses and enjoy continued success. What kinds of businesses do they help? All kinds. Who are the technical assistance providers? See the list below.
- Launch CHA
- Tennessee Small Business Development Center – Chattanooga
- Tennessee Small Business Development Center – Cleveland
- Urban League of Chattanooga
How do I partner with a technical assistance provider? Learn more about each of them by visiting their websites. Contact them via phone or email to setup an appointment for a consultation. Will they help me apply for the Small Business Loan on my first visit? Not likely. Forming a partnership means building a relationship. They need to get to know you and your business. They’ll need to see your business plan. They’ll need to see your finances. They’ll talk with you about marketing. Only after you have formed a relationship will they refer your business into this program.