State and National Support



Where to Find Answers

We are not alone in our efforts. In Tennessee, our rural development lead agencies are providing funding resources and technical assistance resources to advance local entrepreneur and small business development services and programs. Noteworthy programs in Tennessee include the TNECD Placemakers Fund Grants and the Tennessee SmartStart™ Communities program and Driving Innovation’s Mobile Services and TVA Co-Working Grants.

The Small Business Administration, Tennessee Office provides ongoing funding for a range of training, technical assistance and mentoring services along with USDA Rural Development in providing lending programs targeted to small businesses. Launch Tennessee is the lead statewide organization providing Entrepreneurship support and resources. We are glad to count these and several more state and federal partners in our efforts.

Many national groups like the Kauffman Foundation and the National Main Street Center (NMSC) are providing thought leadership, training and resources to support successful entrepreneur and small business programming in rural communities.

In 2016, the National Main Street Center (NMSC) also released Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and the Role of Commercial Districts to catalyze entrepreneur development as a key part of Main Street community’s local Economic Vitality programming. Show cover of publication here.

Launch Tennessee also provides ongoing outreach and communications its informative, free e-newsletter.  Register here for the Launch Tennessee e-newsletter.

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and Tennessee Certified Economic and Community Development program offered through UT CIS also offers ongoing professional development courses on Entrepreneurship and Small Business Strategies. Several national blogs and newsletters like e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems also provide on-going research and resources to advance local, regional and state implementation.

The Library


Original white papers shared on entrepreneurship and ecosystem building from the e2team.

During the course of 2019-20 a series of five workshops were planned to facilitate interested representatives for organizations in the 13 counties comprising the South Central Tennessee Development District to develop strategies and examine resources for the facilitation of entrepreneurship. The purpose of the workshops were multi-faceted.

Coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants and offices are only a few of the types of businesses locating in restored historic downtown storefronts throughout South Central Tennessee.

Start Us Up: America’s New Business Plan

In August of 2019, the Kauffman Foundation in conjunction with over 100 national partners released Start Us Up: America’s New Business Plan that is rapidly advancing the national conversation around supporting entrepreneurship development.

Kaufman Foundation leaders say it is a roadmap and guide “for policymakers who want to do something to help entrepreneurs.