While the grit of entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, it’s something etched in the DNA of many Americans. According to FitSmallBusiness, more and more people leave the traditional workforce for full-time self-employment each year, more than half of startups began in a garage and over one-third of entrepreneurs work more than 40 hours a week.
Often cited as one of the best cities in which to start a business — including in 2019 by Inc. and WalletHub — is Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis offers a unique environment for small businesses that couples the resources of a big city with the willingness to help and a warmth that comes only from a small town. In addition, business startup costs are low in the city, and there is much-better-than-average access to funding.
Check out our list of the best resources to keep entrepreneurs thriving in Memphis — but keep in mind this is just the tip of the iceberg.
- City of Memphis Business Development Center – The BDC provides training and counseling, plus offers loan programs to women- and minority-owned small businesses thriving in Memphis. This includes the City of Memphis Micro-Loan Program, an alternative working capital financing program, and the Grow Memphis Fund, which is designed to create job growth and expansion.
- Small Business Development Center hosted by Southwest Tennessee Community College – The TSBDC is comprised of business consultants who provide guidance and advice to small businesses at no charge. Its resources include business and marketing planning, cash flow analysis and counseling.
- Small Business Administration – Particularly useful in helping entrepreneurs start their businesses, the SBA provides information on Tennessee and regional applications and licenses, financing including loans, and government regulations.
- Black Business Association – A nonprofit 501(c)(3) and the largest trade association of its kind in the region, the BBA focuses on empowering women- and minority-owned businesses thriving in Memphis.
- Greater Memphis Chamber – The Greater Memphis Chamber places a large emphasis on helping locally owned businesses with training opportunities, the Move Your Money to Memphis program to drive sales, loan programs, and incentives to hire local employees. Its Small Business Council was created by members and offers numerous networking opportunities.
- Epicenter – Epicenter is a nonprofit community that connects entrepreneurs in tech, creative and community-based businesses with resources for customers, capital and talent. It uses a systems-driven approach and an extensive network of partners to foster the growth and expansion of startups.
- Start Co. – Start Co. is a group of accelerators, investors and partners that provide their expert services to startups, particularly in the early stages. Its resources include the acceleration of new technologies, mentoring in finding capital and portfolio management.
- Leadership Memphis – A service-based program, Leadership Memphis develops community leaders through training and mobilization. The idea behind this collective is to connect leaders in Memphis with information and technology.
- SCORE Memphis – SCORE provides free mentoring, as well as workshops and training on small business strategy, marketing, and finance
For hard-working entrepreneurs who put their blood, sweat, and tears into their businesses, there is no city more pro-business than Memphis.