excepts from the Tennessee Smart Start Small Business Guide by the TN Department of Economic & Community Development tn.gov/ecd/bero

Financing is probably the first thing on many entrepreneurs’ minds when it comes to starting a small business. One of the biggest challenges is identifying the amount and source of funding necessary to carry out your plan. There are many forms of financing for small business owners, including a variety of state programs.

  1. Tennessee Energy Efficiency Loan Program – provides low interest loans to qualified commercial, industrial or nonprofit Tennessee based businesses. The program allows 100 percent financing for energy efficient technology, energy retrofits and renewable energy systems. It was launched in 2010 and is a collaborative effort among the state of Tennessee, TVA, Pinnacle National Bank and Pathway Lending. To learn how energy efficiency is a tool that can save your business money and how government loans strengthen your bottom line go to pathwaylending.org.
  2. Development Districts – regional planning and economic organizations owned and operated by the cities and counties of Tennessee. Each district operates a business and industry loan program and can provide small business loans, typically focusing on businesses that create jobs within its district. Williamson County is served by the Mid-Cumberland Area Development Corporation; Maury County is served by the South Central Tennessee Development District.
  3. INCITE Co-investment Fund – a venture capital program designed to stimulate the growth and development of innovative small business in Tennessee and increase the number of better paying, high quality jobs in our state. Developed by TNECD and administered by Launch Tennessee, the Fund is backed entirely by a $29.7 million award through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative. The Fund is a key component of Gov. Haslam’s $50 million INCITE initiative to raise Tennessee’s profile in innovation-based economic development and increase the number of knowledge-based jobs by assisting companies with access to early-stage capital. For more information visit launchtn.org.

The Business Entreprise Resource Office (BERO) is housed within the Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD). BERO serves as a voice for and advocate of economic inclusion for disadvantaged businesses (DBE); analyzes, disseminates and promotes best practices and access to capital to service providers; and reports on the status of DBEs statewide.

For more information, visit tn.gov/ecd/bero.