How to start a business in Memphis

Memphis has earned a reputation as a great place to start a business, but that doesn’t mean founding a successful business in these parts is a piece of cake. It still takes a great idea, hard work and lots of elbow grease. However, the great thing about the Memphis community is that those who trod this path in the past left a trail of bread crumbs for those who would follow in their wake—and that’s part of what makes the Memphis community such a hotbed of activity for Memphis entrepreneurs.

Some of the best guides to help you launch your own “Made in Memphis” startup are maintained by the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, which is personally invested in cultivating local entrepreneurship and has members in its ranks who made the entrepreneurial journey themselves.

Getting off to a good start can make all the difference, so utilize the following tools to find your way as a Memphis entrepreneur.


The Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center, or EPICenter, is one such valuable resource that the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce has made available to those looking to start their own businesses. As the virtual hub of the chamber’s entrepreneurship movement, it is dedicated to helping Memphian professionals change not only the Bluff City, but the world.

Since 2014, EPICenter has been the point of connection between entrepreneurs with what can be very disparate interests, with the understanding that any startup that calls Memphis home plays a part in growing our community into something bigger and better.

To that end, the EPICenter provides support to all, acting as a single point of accountability that measures and celebrates how Memphis startups foster growth—not only of our economy, but of our city at large.

Beyond that, EPICenter also focuses on making sure the necessary infrastructure is in place for Memphis startups to grow and flourish. The organization is focused on delivering programs that serve a broad base, filling the gaps in the startup ecosystem and pulling in necessary resources from outside our community.

Memphis Smart Start

All startups begin by procuring a business license, and the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce provides assistance with this through the Memphis Smart Start program.

Through Smart Start, everything that businesses need to become licensed by both the city and the state is available via an online platform created in partnership with the City of Memphis and Shelby County. All you need to do is input information about the type of business you are looking to start, and a list of the necessary steps will be provided along with the relevant contacts, links and instructions.

Along with licensing assistance, Memphis Smart Start also offers a number of resources that entrepreneurs interested in founding their own Memphis startups will find handy, from small business development center programs to information specific to different types of startups.

The City of Memphis has made a conscious effort to increase the chances of startup success, which is part of the reason that the Bluff City is so often cited as one of the premier environments in which entrepreneurs can find success.

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