• Initiative supports local small business financing and investment programs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The U.S. Department of Treasury announced today the approval of up to $116.9 million in funding under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to support small business growth in Tennessee.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they play a central role in building strong communities throughout Tennessee,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee. “I’m pleased that this funding will help expand the growth of small businesses and encourage interested Tennesseans to utilize these funds to promote economic growth in our state.”

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) will operate an initiative called Fund Tennessee, which is made up of a suite of programs from venture capital, to loan programs and technical assistance. TNECD allocated $46.9 million for the debt program that will work with participating Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) to serve rural to urban areas of the state, including underserved communities.

“With one of the top business climates in the country, Tennessee is the ideal location to create, launch and grow a business,” said TNECD Commissioner Stuart McWhorter. “We appreciate the U.S. Department of Treasury for approving this funding, which will support and expand Tennessee’s small business and entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

TNECD, in partnership with LaunchTN, allocated $70 million for the program, which is focused on direct investments in early-stage startups, along with a fund-of-funds strategy investing in emerging venture capital fund managers.

“Access to investment capital has been a challenge in Tennessee, so these funds will fill an immediate demand and support growth in startups that are primed to reach their potential,” said LaunchTN CEO Lindsey Cox. “We are eager to help founders across the state access this capital so they can continue innovating.”

TNECD and LaunchTN are hosting regional kickoff meetings to give an overview of the new Fund Tennessee initiative. The meetings will begin today and continue through April. To learn more or register for a kickoff meeting, visit here.

The SSBCI program provides funding to empower small businesses to access capital needed to invest in job-creating opportunities.

In addition to generating private investment in states across the country, SSBCI provides historic investments in U.S. territories, with significant impacts for growing access to credit in these markets. Through SSBCI, U.S. Treasury has allocated more than $300 million to support small businesses and entrepreneurs.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.

TNECD Media Contact
Jennifer McEachern
Director of Communications and Marketing
[email protected]
(615) 336-2689


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