Memphis is full of businesses that started small and grew into something bigger thanks to their loyal customer following and the supportive business environment that Memphis provides with an ever-increasing emphasis on growth. Locally owned businesses are a cornerstone of Memphis culture, and we welcome new entrepreneurs every day. Here are a few resources to help you start and grow your small business in Memphis.
Memphis entrepreneurs will tell you that their success came down to two things: investment and advice.
Here are a few resources to help you start and grow your small business in Memphis.
Where to get business financing
Regardless of what type of business you’re starting, you’ll need some startup capital to get it going.
This could be for computers, office supplies, furniture, fixtures, office space, advertising, online marketing, manufacturing machinery, licenses, legal fees… the list goes on.
Whatever you use it for, capital makes launching your small business easier—and Memphis has a lot of places you can go for financing, including:
- Communities Unlimited: This nonprofit organization provides in-depth, one-on-one assistance to minority-owned, women-owned and rural small businesses. It offers a Small Business Administration-guaranteed microloan ($5,000 to $15,000) that does not require a tax return or business plan to apply, which makes it the perfect partner for people new to the business world.
- Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA): Sometimes, getting a business off the ground is dependent on creating cash flow—and that’s exactly what the TVA’s “Business Incubator Tenant Loan Fund” is designed to do. By providing loans to new business owners, the fund ensures that these entrepreneurs’ short-term cash-flow and operating expense needs can be met. To be eligible for a loan up to $25,000, your business will need to be located within one of the 24 TVA business incubator sites, which also give you access to shared equipment, services and space.
- City of Memphis: If you’re going to start a small business in a city, you might as well have the city as a partner, right? Memphis is a great partner to small-business owners due to its focus on fostering growth, providing technical assistance, classroom training and lending programs for small-business and minority contractors. The City of Memphis Contractors Assistance Program offers short-term contract financing between $15,000 and $250,000 for startup costs or to be used as working capital. As funds are available on a rotating basis, you’re going to want to keep an eye out for the next opportunity to make your bid.
This is just a shortlist of the financial resources available to entrepreneurs in Memphis. For more resources, check out the list at the bottom of this page.
Of course, all the money in the world isn’t any good if you don’t know what to do with it. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of the strong business environment in Memphis, and all the great advice that goes along with it.
Where to get business advice
- Start Co.: Start Co. offers B2B, EdTech, and Women-Led Tech accelerators that provide expertise, resources, access and connections to new businesses. Turning ideas into companies, and founders into skilled entrepreneurs right here in Memphis.
- Black Business Association of Memphis: The BBA has been helping small businesses succeed since 1974, with an emphasis on issues minority owned businesses face. The BBA serves as a resource to the entire community, providing guidance, networking opportunities, and access to training and technical assistance.
- City of Memphis Renaissance Business Center: If you need technical or financial assistance with your small, minority- or women-owned business, get on down to the city’s Renaissance Business Center. You’ll get access to seminars on starting your own business, writing plans, basic accounting, tax preparation, cash flow analysis and more.
- Memphis SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives): Imagine if you could tap into the minds of people who led some of the most successful companies in Memphis. Well, now you can. Memphis SCORE is a mentoring program that connects you with professionals who’ve been there and done that—and it’s free.
Connect with capital
- Loans for small-business and minority contractors – City of Memphis
- Small business microloans for minorities and women – Alt.Consulting
- Short-term loans for cash-flow and operating expenses – TVA
- Microloans for people in the middle – Lemoyne-Owen CDC
Connect with advice
- The Renaissance Business Center – City of Memphis
- Resources and support for black entrepreneurs – BBA of Memphis
- Find a mentor – Memphis SCORE
Want even more resources? Visit the Greater Memphis Chamber.