Small Business Grants in Tennessee | Fund Your Business

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
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Tennessee Small Business Grants

In Tennessee, also known as, The Volunteer State, starting and growing a small business can be challenging, particularly when securing the necessary funding. One often overlooked source of funding for small businesses comes in the form of grants. In Tennessee, various grants are available to small business owners, offering a valuable source of funding to help you achieve your business goals. 

This comprehensive guide will explore the Small Business Grants in Tennessee, how to find them, and tips for successfully applying. And, if you are planning to form a Limited Liability Company in Tennessee and want to have small business grants, this article is right for you. Read the guide to fully understand small business grants in Tennessee.

Webinarcare Editorial Team had thorough research and market study regarding the state-funded small business grants in Tennessee. It would be best to cross-check all the factors before choosing the right one for your Tennessee business.

What is a Small Business Grant?

A business grant is a sum awarded to a small business that does not need to be repaid. Grants are typically given by governments, nonprofit organizations, and private companies to help support the growth and development of small businesses. Grants can be used for various purposes, such as starting a new business, expanding an existing one, purchasing equipment, or funding research and development.

If you are planning to start a business in Tennessee, you should consider having small business grants for your business’s funding.

Small Business Grants in Tennessee

Various types of small business grants are available in Tennessee, depending on the source of funding and the specific needs of your business. Here are three main categories of grants that you can explore:

Tennessee Funded Small Business Grants

Tennessee funded small business grants offer several programs to support small businesses. These grants may be specific to certain industries, regions, or business stages. Examples of state-funded small business grants in Tennessee include:

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

The FastTrack Economic Development Fund is designed to support job creation, business expansion, and economic growth in Tennessee. The program offers grants to local governments and businesses for infrastructure improvements, workforce training, and other economic development projects that directly benefit small businesses in the state. While not exclusively for small businesses, these grants can indirectly benefit small businesses by creating a favorable environment for growth and job creation.

2. Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) Financing Assistance

While not a direct grant provider, the TSBDC offers valuable resources and support for small businesses in Tennessee. The TSBDC provides assistance with business planning, financing, licensing, and other essential aspects of starting and growing a small business. By connecting small businesses to a wide range of state and federal resources, the TSBDC can help entrepreneurs find and secure funding opportunities, including grants and low-interest loans.

3. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Economic Development Programs

The TVA offers various programs to support economic development and job creation in the Tennessee Valley region. Some of the programs and resources offered by the TVA include: a. Valley Investment Initiative (VII) – This program offers incentives to businesses that create new jobs and make significant capital investments in the region. b. Rural Development Loan Fund – This program provides low-interest loans to businesses in rural areas for the purpose of job creation and economic development.

Aside from Tennessee funded small business grants, there are federal small business grants available. These grants can not only provide a much-needed funding boost, but they can also offer valuable networking and mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs starting a business in Tennessee.


Federal Small Business Grants Available in Tennessee

Federal small business grants in Tennessee may also offer grants to businesses, particularly those that contribute to the community’s economic development or create jobs. Examples of federal small business grants in Tennessee include:

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive federal initiative that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in research and development (R&D) with the potential for commercialization. The SBIR program is coordinated by the Small Business Administration (SBA). It operates across 11 participating federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.


To apply for the SBIR program, small businesses must submit proposals in response to agency-specific solicitations, which outline each participating federal agency’s research topics and priorities. The application process is highly competitive, emphasizing the proposed technology’s technical innovation, feasibility, and commercial potential.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program is a federal initiative designed to encourage collaboration between small businesses and research institutions in the United States. The program aims to promote the commercialization of innovative technologies from research and development (R&D) efforts and foster entrepreneurship and economic growth.

Administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the STTR program involves five participating federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

To apply for the STTR program, small businesses must submit proposals in response to agency-specific solicitations, which outline each participating federal agency’s research topics and priorities. The application process is highly competitive, with a strong emphasis on the proposed technology’s technical innovation, feasibility, commercial potential, and the quality of the collaboration between the small business and research institution.

Other Federal Grant Programs

In addition to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, there are several other federal grant programs available to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in various sectors and stages of development in Tennessee. Some of these programs include:

Economic Development Administration (EDA) Grants: The EDA, under the U.S. Department of Commerce, offers grants to support economic development, job creation, and business growth in economically distressed communities. These grants are typically awarded to local governments, nonprofits, and economic development organizations, supporting small businesses through technical assistance, infrastructure development, and other services.


Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG): Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the RBDG program offers grants to support small businesses in rural areas. These grants are intended to promote job creation, business expansion, and economic development in rural communities. Eligible applicants include towns, communities, state agencies, nonprofits, and higher education institutions.

Local and Regional Small Business Grants in Tennessee

In Tennessee, various local and regional small business grants are available to support and encourage the growth and development of small businesses. These grants often target specific industries or demographic groups and can provide financial assistance, training, and resources to help businesses succeed. 

To find specific grant opportunities in Tennessee, it’s essential to check with local and regional economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, and other business support organizations. They can provide information on available grants, eligibility requirements, and application processes.

Benefits of Small Business Grants

There are several benefits to obtaining a small business grant for your Tennessee business, including:

  • No Repayment Necessary: Unlike loans, grants do not require repayment, making them an attractive option for small businesses needing financial assistance.
  • Retain Equity: Grants allow owners to fully own their businesses without giving up a portion of their equity in exchange for funding.
  • Credibility: Receiving a grant can enhance a business’s credibility, making it more attractive to potential investors, partners, and customers.
  • Networking Opportunities: Many grant programs offer networking opportunities and support services, helping small businesses connect with mentors, industry experts, and other business owners.

Tips for Applying for Small Business Grants in Tennessee

Applying for small business grants in Tennessee can be competitive. Here are some tips to help you increase your chances of success:

  • Research Available Grants: Research the various small business grants available in Tennessee. Look for grants designed for your industry, target market, or demographics. Check with local and regional economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, and other business support organizations for information on available grants.
  • Read the Eligibility Criteria Carefully: Ensure your business meets the eligibility criteria before applying for a grant. Some grants may have specific requirements based on location, industry, business size, or the demographics of the business owner.
  • Create a Solid Business Plan: A well-written business plan is essential when applying for grants. It demonstrates your understanding of your business, target market, and growth strategy. Be sure to include financial projections and a clear explanation of how the grant funds will be used to achieve your goals.
  • Prepare a Detailed Budget: Grant reviewers want to see how you plan to use the funds. Prepare a detailed budget that outlines the specific expenses the grant will cover and how these expenses will contribute to your business’s growth and success.
  • Follow the Application Guidelines: Each grant will have its application process and guidelines. Be sure to read these carefully and follow them closely. Submit all required documentation and complete all necessary forms.
  • Write a Compelling Grant Proposal: Your grant proposal should clearly explain the purpose of your business, how the grant funds will be used, and the expected outcomes. Be sure to highlight your business’s benefits to the local economy and community.
  • Review and Edit your Application: Review it carefully for errors or omissions before submitting it. Consider asking a colleague or mentor to review your application, as they may also catch mistakes or provide helpful feedback.
  • Submit your Application On Time: Be aware of the grant deadline and submit your application well in advance. Only complete applications may be considered.
  • Be Prepared for Follow-Up: If your application is successful, be prepared to provide additional information or documentation as requested by the grant agency. This may include progress reports or updates on the use of grant funds.
  • Don’t Get Discouraged: Applying for grants can be competitive, and you may only receive some grants you apply for. Use your feedback to improve your application for future opportunities, and keep searching for grants that fit your business needs.

Can I Get an SBA Grant for Small Businesses?

The SBA doesn’t typically offer grants directly to small businesses. Instead, the agency issues grant funding to state, local and tribal governments, as well as nonprofit organizations, to be used to support small-business initiatives. SBA loans are an available alternative to SBA grants.


What are the available small business grants in Tennessee?
Tennessee has various small business grants funded by the state, federal agencies, and private organizations.
Am I eligible for small business grants in Tennessee?
Eligibility depends on various criteria such as size of business, type of industry, and funding program’s requirements.
Can I use small business grants for personal expenses?
Small business grants should only be used to finance business-related expenses.
Where can I apply for small business grants in Tennessee?
You can apply for small business grants in Tennessee through the state government, the federal government, and nonprofit organizations.
Are Tennessee small business grants available only to minority-owned businesses?
Small business grants in Tennessee are available to all business owners regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender.
How long does it take to get Tennessee small business grants?
It depends on the type of grant program you applied for. Some grants are awarded within a few weeks while others take months.
Are the small business grants in Tennessee free money?
Small business grants are not free money. You have to apply for them, meet certain requirements, and use the funds for specific purposes outlined in the grant agreement.
Do I have to repay small business grants in Tennessee?
It depends on the specific funding program you applied for. Some grants require repayment, while others don’t.
Can startups apply for Tennessee small business grants?
Yes, startups can apply for small business grants in Tennessee.
How do I judge whether a grant is suitable for my business or not in Tennessee?
You need to review the eligibility criteria and grant requirements to assess if a small business grant is suitable for your business in Tennessee.
How can I increase my chances of getting small business grants in Tennessee?
To increase your chances of getting a small business grant in Tennessee, meet all the eligibility criteria, write a compelling grant proposal, and follow the application instructions to the letter.
What are some common reasons for Tennessee small business grant application denials?
Common reasons for Tennessee small business grant application denials include incomplete applications, not meeting eligibility criteria, and failing to properly explain how the money will be used.
How much can I get from Tennessee small business grants?
The amount of funds you can receive from Tennessee small business grants varies depending on the grant program requirements.
How long does it take to complete a Tennessee small business grant application?
It depends on the program and funding agency requirements, but it can take several weeks or months.
Can nonprofits apply for Tennessee small business grants?
Yes, some certain grant programs in Tennessee offer grants specifically designed to support nonprofits.
What are the most popular Tennessee small business grant programs?
Popular small business grant programs in Tennessee include the Small Business Administration (SBA), Tennessee FastTrack, and Targeted Grant Programs.
Do I need to provide collateral for Tennessee small business grants?
It depends on the funding program. You need to read and understand the requirements of the program application of which you wanted to apply.
Can I apply for multiple Tennessee small business grants at once?
Yes, you can apply for multiple small business grants at once in Tennessee, subject to eligibility and program limitations.
How frequently can I apply for Tennessee small business grants?
You can apply for Tennessee small business grants on an as-needed basis, as long as your business meets the eligibility criteria.
How should I use Tennessee small business grants to maximize the benefit?
The best use of small business grants in Tennessee varies depending on the program’s requirements. Make sure to use the funds for what the program has been sanctioned for.
Should I work with a Tennessee-based grant consultant to provide insight concerning small business grants?
Yes, you can work with specific consultants and takers to advise on small business grants and how to increase your odds of securing them.
Can I use a Tennessee Small Business Grant for debt consolidation?
This varies between grant programs. Make sure to read the guidelines to see if it covvers debt consolidation.
Can I apply for Tennessee Small Business Grants if my business is in the developing stage?
Yes, select grants are designed to specifically help developing businesses.
How to avoid scammers while applying for Tennessee Small Business Grants?
Be careful as to collect evidence of actual real administration and check for the name of the Grantor who claims he/she are Tennessee based government or non-profit agent.
Does turning back a denied grant affect future chances of getting a Tennessee Small Business Grant?
No, turning down a grant shouldn’t affect your future applications for Tennessee Small Business Grants.
Who decides whether or not to give me a Tennessee Small Business Grant?
Administrative departments review applications and decide grants for confirm identity of applicant.
Can a sole proprietor apply for Tennessee small business grants?
Depending on the small business grant program, sole proprietorship owners and or independent contractors classified as “business owners can apply for small business grants in Tennessee.”
How long do I need to think before pursuing Tennessee small business grants?
There’s nothing wrong with researching grants earlier in the process, authors state to begin research roughly a year before the desired budget period to increase the chances of securing financing.
Is there a limit on which counties can participate applying for small business grants in Tennessee?
No, Tennessee offers small buisness grants that throughout the entire state.
What types of small business grants are available in Tennessee?
There are a variety of small business grants available in Tennessee depending on the industry and circumstances. Some popular grants, like the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program, focus on greener initiatives, while others, like the LLC FastTrack program offered by the state, specifically target small businesses that need immediate financial help.
Is there a maximum amount for small business grants in Tennessee?
The maximum amount for small business grants in Tennessee varies based on the grant program. Each program has different criteria for determining the maximum award amount, so it’s crucial to review the specific grant’s details to know the specific range being offered.
How can I apply for small business grants in Tennessee?
The best ways to apply for small business grants in Tennessee are online at the grant website or by requesting an application in-person at local government organizations or other designated offices.
Is there a deadline to apply for small business grants in Tennessee?
There are deadlines for applying for many small business grants in Tennessee. As always, it is best to check the specific information offered on the Tennessee state’s website to determine the dates for when grants open and close.
Can I apply for small business grants if I have already received one in the past?
Yes, many grants apply to businesses in all stages of growth, and even those who have secured financial help in past situations. Eligibility criteria vary for each, and it is essential for you to thoroughly research and understand your options available.
What are the requirements to be eligible for a small business grant in Tennessee?
As mentioned before, each program varies, but mainly to qualify for a small business grant in Tennessee, being an active Tennessee-based business that meets the specific requirements laid out by the state needs to be fulfilled.
Are there restrictions based on the size of the company to be given a small business grant in Tennessee?
That depends on a case-to-case basis, and some grants explicitly target businesses that are smaller, perhaps with fewer than ten employees and a relatively modest revenue stream.
Are small business grants typically repayable in Tennessee?
Most small business grants from The state of Tennessee are typically not given as they require repayment. Though many do have criteria for detailation of projects for demonstration, which they use to justify usage of the funds correctly.
Can a title loan stop me from obtaining a small business grant in Tennessee?
Applying for a small business grant in State Tennessee will have certain requirements like adequate equity within the business, they don’t explicitly review individual credit scores.
What is the strongest factor in determining who is awarded a small business grant in Tennessee?
Winning in a small business grant application is about displaying a commitment to the program’s goals regarding Tennessee’s broader economic immersion certainly helps your chances, but it’s not a surefire recipe for being guaranteed securing a loan.
How do I know if a small business grant in Tennessee reimburses submitting receipts?
Each program has specific guidelines for seeking relief through eligible expenses through itemization, but many may fund operating costs for smooth running of businesses; it’s noteworthy to note the difference in expenses/timelines.
Can someone from outside the state receive Tennessee small business grants?
Generally speaking, There aren’t too many options since strict eligibility criteria launched under the Tennessee State government program, but like anything else, exceptions can apply.
When organizing my records to apply for a small business grant in Tennessee, will I need a filing paper in order, or is Microsoft Excel acceptable?
Many eligibility requirements for state grant programs decree itemization is necessary, but the specifics may vary depending on funding divisions. Do research to fully capture the most fitting government grants, ensuring reports have no missing data.
How long do recipients have to use the proceeds after if the apply for a small business grant in Tennessee and are approved?
This timeline depends on the specifc program; every program is different, ranging from a few weeks up to several months.
Is it typical for small business grant applications to require a formal business plan?
Yes, state programs offering small business grants in Tennessee, this particular element usually comes as requirements to track how the finances will be utilized fruitfully and reckoned atop another sources when preparing for businesses.
Where should I look for upcoming small business grant opportunities in Tennessee?
Small business grants offered in Tennessee typically have annual release public announcements, but effectively staying afield grants’ eligibility categories provided time-to-time from their respective websites is an essential step.
Is assistance available for completing a small business grant application in Tennessee?
Yes, applicants can reach out to certain state programs providing ardent entities towards application preparation or programs organizing webinars providing exposure and idea comprehension, troubleshooting any issue, which may arise elsewhere.
Is a thorough business plan useful while looking for Tennessee-run grant programs for almost any industry?
Tennessee’s small business grants programs offered through and run by the government website consistently show the need to create a plan centered on and track based on accountability and timeliness.
Who takes the decisive call on a small business grant’s final approval in Tennessee?
Applications details get reviewed by appointed programs under Tennessee State Government which accordingly take on the approval decision found typically within the source of application’s fine print approval time.
If applying multiple times throughout the year for the same Tennessee-based business is allowed?
Nearly every State of Tennessee program towards aid in the small business does not limit one from applying numerous times in a year.
What Should I keep in mind while drafting Small business grants in Tennessee?
Typing out a brief summary explains the “why” and “what” businesses do, tangible accomplishable elements that shows real and profitable revenue goals for state, adequate Equity within organizations turning failure-proof, manage concurrent revenue streams, clarifying general operations cost.
Other than the state government, what organizational programs/my specific niche within the Tennessee community in itself may be a small business grant potential match?
Tennessee’s partnered up with extensive and forward thinking bodies, which has lent its outreach to an encouraging wider view consortium like private organizations/non-government stock in specific pipelines organizations/local business structures preferred views/special initiatives towards incentivizing public projects.
Is being a new business a critical negative connotation when out to seek recognition among Tennessee’s small business grants avenues?
New businesses are typically celebrated and part of some state-run programs applications categories in favoring their accelerated growth, in multi platforms and comprising goods.
Are side businesses or side hustles eligible for support from Tennessee state?
Yes, Tennessee State in its reviewal processes also takes into evaluations a steady line of income with extended, well carved out plans to growth and sustainability.
Once attaining funding through a small business grant, will constant monitoring and feedback be given by the state?
Annually or bi-annually reviewing programs tend to assess how reliable, adapting and task mastering claims like the award money was utilized impactful, while sometimes stepping into the ways better the process if possible is provided.
What problems addressed are small business grants in Tennessee geared towards combating?
Tennessee Government’s grants assembly tends to focus on banking challenges creeping among different businesses, tax reduction optimization and initiative tracking on environmental centered attributes of progress.
What’s The Fast track loan program rooted in Tennessee history in delivering out economic propelling lending incentives?
Released as one problem-solving solution solely dealing with pandemic reaction outs in proposal combined urgency which got co-opted a year after, putting urgency for almost immeadiate responses without shying away from backing underprivilaged, established businesses and most promoted gender equality steps manifesting by the participation of deserving scholarships
Besides items and operating costs and persistently going green angles outlined endlessly viewed through the Tennessee grants offered lenses, what are other frequently asked for investment avenues that mentioned several industries might find aid within?
Published items include money for investing in new company tech and Re-branding; intellectual and milestone organizational progress; Analyzes diversified market placement such as big winning insurance premiums and inventory under-worth bundled up as emergency reserves for wavering opportunities among significant investments depending upon immediate disbursement.
What happens in case of overdrawing on funding through the Tennessee small business grant?
Accidentally crossing fund border limits plummets progressing operations concerns; but targeting innovative investment procedures, some Tennessee state offered grants allow tackling discussed disbursements challenges allowing utilization of mentioned investments allocations coupled suggesting fiduclar excellence certainty.

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Small business grants can provide valuable funding and support for entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses in Tennessee. By understanding the types of grants available, conducting thorough research, and following best practices for grant applications, you can increase your chances of securing the funding you need to achieve your business goals. Stay encouraged by the competitive nature of grant programs; with persistence and dedication, you can find the right grant opportunity for your Tennessee small business.

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