A Project with a Purpose



SCOPE: South Central Opportunities: Promoting Entrepreneurs

At its inception, each county has opted in a lively group of professionals who are each working to create a nurturing environment for people who are ready to start a business and are looking for practical resources and safe sources for searching for capital investment to make their ideas into a viable business.

The project, SCOPE, an acronym for South Central Opportunities: Promoting Entrepreneurs, began in 2019, under the direction of Project Director, Bridget Jones, with sponsorship from USDA Rural Development and the Rural and Community Development Division of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) and funding from ATT and the South Central Development Corporation.

Contributing partnerships have been developed with TVA, The Small Business Administration (SBA) Office for Tennessee, Driving Innovation and TNEC’s Business Enterprise Resource Office (BERO) and Tennessee Main Street Program.

The Scope Project Team is comprised of a cadre of individuals and organizations based in each of the 13 counties that are part of the South Central Development District.

Fully 70% of today’s new jobs have been created in small businesses and in business startups. The care and nurturing of these creative dreamers are integral to the overall financial future of the entire South Central District.

Of those, many began as an entrepreneurial venture. For rural regions, nurturing these entrepreneurial and small business enterprises are a significant source of potential employment and wealth.

Developing the technology and infrastructures to enable these businesses to thrive is crucial to the economic viability and diversification of the entire region.

The Start Up for Start Ups


In its inaugural year, SCOPE is assembling the Project Team that will assist entrepreneurs and small businesses seeking assistance. The first step has been to assemble an inventory of the resources that exist within the counties, those resources that can provide services or products across county lines and to learn about resources available outside the region that can be deployed without cost or with minimal or shared costs. In addition, uncovering funding sources both to underwrite new technology or shared resources to benefit fledgling businesses is being assembled.

    First Year Objectives

    Specific SCOPE Year 1 objectives for the Network of local economic, community and workforce development leaders include:

    • Create a recognized regional network of economic, community and workforce development leaders to implement local and regional programs and build regional relationships with peer communities and providers
    • Build the capacity of Network members comprised of community points of contact and team members to identify, create and deliver expanded entrepreneur and small business services that serve our unique communities and region
    • Complete county-specific assessments and develop plans and strategies for local programs and services
    • Host regional workshops to connect network members and increase their knowledge of successful approaches
    • Provide access to experts, best practices and programming information and technical assistance and funding resources to support local and regional implementation efforts
    • Support the launch of pilot programs and services in five South Central counties
    • Evaluate progress and develop a new South Central Regional Entrepreneur and Small Business Development Strategy to continue regional implementation

    An Ambitious Network

    In addition to the specific work of the Network members, the SCOPE team is completing a comprehensive assessment and plans for local service delivery in eight pilot communities. With the assessment in hand, the launch of Local Entrepreneur and Small Business Services launched in 2020 along with several new Tennessee SmartStart™ Communities along with several Main Street and Three-Star Asset-Based programs, which will take advantage of TVA Co-Working and Young Talent resources.

    Of key importance to the Network is the development of communications tools to provide resources information and timely news for the Network members and eventually to assist the entrepreneurs and small businesses directly. A regional communications clearinghouse to include the South Central Opportunities: Promoting Entrepreneurs website, e-newsletter and social media outreach tools is launching in 2020. Topical areas include:

    Best Practices – Capture and report successful methods across our South Central Region, State of Tennessee and beyond to expand our successful implementation 

     Research and Publications – State and National Resources 

    Capital and Financing Opportunities – Regional, State and National 

    Technical Assistance and Funding – State and National Resources 

    Evaluate and Continue SCOPE Regional Resources

    Evaluation of the SCOPE Network is ongoing to help identify areas of need and to generate data that can be used to seek future funding to continue the local and regional efforts.


    Sponsors, Partners & Network Members

    The South Central Tennessee Development District, USDA Rural Development and the Rural and Community Development Division of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) have partnered to sponsor the SCOPE Network project through joint funding investments.

    Generous support has also been extended through AT&T and the South Central Development Corporation. TVA, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office for Tennessee, Driving Innovation and TNECD’s Business Enterprise Resource Office (BERO) and Tennessee Main Street Program have committed to the project team in support of the regional efforts.

    Read more about our project sponsors and partners here.



    These collaborative efforts with the Scope Project Team are supporting successful entrepreneur and small business development services across our 13 counties.

    In addition to the work to emerge the regional centers and develop a vibrant network of resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses, much is also being done to advance local entrepreneurs and small businesses through professional project management, training, web and communications development and event services.

    Read more about resources here.


    The commitment of the leaders involved in SCOPE are local points of contact and project teams from our participating counties that have come together to participate.

    Read more about our SCOPE Network points of contacts and members here.