Knoxville Wins $25,000 Entrepreneurship Grant

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Knoxville Wins $25,000 Entrepreneurship Grant

Posted: 10/09/2015
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has awarded a $25,000 grant to the City of Knoxville through its Recipes for Growth City Challenge contest.

The funding will help Knoxville start-up companies more easily partner with local entrepreneurship support organizations, such as Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, the Knoxville Chamber, Tech 2020, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center and others.

"I'm thrilled that the Kauffman Foundation and the judges who are experts on entrepreneurship found our proposal worthy of funding,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, who delivered the City’s pitch for the grant funding Thursday at the Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship in Albuquerque, N.M.

“I want to thank Jim Biggs, Jonathan Sexton and the team at Knoxville Entrepreneur Center for developing both the concept and the pitch. The Kauffman Foundation is highly respected for its global leadership in promoting entrepreneurship, and we are honored to be recognized by them."

The City will use the funds to build a software platform that will help entrepreneurs easily navigate the network of local support organizations, then quickly find and tap into resources they need, said Briggs, executive director of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, 17 Market Square.

The support organizations will share a database on start-up companies to better collaborate in delivering comprehensive services.

The entrepreneurs will be able to visit a website or download an app. After inputting some basic information about their business and what they need, they’ll be guided to local entrepreneur experts at the support organizations. These local experts will answer questions, offer advice and provide successful models to emulate as they walk the entrepreneurs step by step through the process of launching or expanding their business.

“This is needed,” Biggs said. “There is a broad variety of organizations eager to help entrepreneurs, and they have slightly different skills, programming and approaches. 

“This grant will ensure that entrepreneurs can know these organizations’ specific strengths, their focuses and expertise, and where they should start. Right now, there’s no single place where an entrepreneur can go to see the full spectrum of available resources.”

Another finalist city, Louisville, Ky., also received $25,000 in grant funding through the Kauffman Foundation contest.

Jonathan Robinson of the Kauffman Foundation presents a $25,000 check to Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero.
Jonathan Robinson, senior program officer of entrepreneurship programs at the Kauffman Foundation, presents a $25,000 check to Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero at the Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship in Albuquerque, N.M., on Thursday.