This year, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union (TVFCU) is awarding a total of $175,000 in grants to local small business owners across Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia.

The grants will be awarded in three separate Idea Leap Grant competitions with $75,000 going toward Chattanooga entrepreneurs and $50,000 each to entrepreneurs in Cleveland, Tennessee and Northwest Georgia. Two INCubator companies are among the five Chattanooga area grant finalists, RMJ Tactical and Cocoa Asante.

“Since the inception of the Idea Leap Grant in 2018, we have awarded over $300,000 in grants and scholarships to dozens of outstanding small businesses in our area,” Tommy Nix, vice president of business and commercial services, TVFCU says. 

“This year, for the first time ever, we’ve expanded the Idea Leap Grant into three regional competitions – in the Chattanooga, Cleveland and Northwest Georgia areas – to ensure that the program’s impact is felt across TVFCU’s 17-county service area.” 

RMJ Tactical and Cocoa Asante both launched their companies through our Chattanooga Chamber’s INCubator program inside Hamilton County’s Business Development Center. RMJ USA is an INCubator graduate that has continued to find success in their business after the program while Cocoa Asante’s business recently skyrocketed after a video reviewing her chocolates went viral

Competitions kick off with the Cleveland Area Pitch Night and Reception on May 8, hosted by the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce.  

Then, grants will be awarded at the Northwest Georgia Area Pitch Night and Reception hosted by Dalton Innovation Accelerator.

Final grants will be awarded in Chattanooga on May 11 during Chattanooga Area Pitch Night, Luncheon and Chambliss Startup Social at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

The luncheon will provide valuable insights into the experiences of successful small business owners, and will feature panelists including Platt Boyd, founder and chief innovation architect at Branch Technology; Cheryl Saucier, owner of Mountain View Low Vision Services; and Keenan Daniels, local DJ and entrepreneur.

All events associated with the Idea Leap Grant are open to the public. Those interested can RSVP on the TVFCU website, here.

Read a recent article about the INCubator’s impact, here.

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