Free Grants and Loans for Minority and Women Owned Businesses in Tennessee

Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Hannah Stevens

Small to mid-sized businesses in Tennessee may receive free government grants. Financial assistance is available for women and minority owned businesses. The applicant may also be eligible for a loan or grant. Below are the links to the major lenders, charities, corporations, and business development centers in Tennessee near you.

All entrepreneurs, small business owners (regardless of race or ethnicity), or startup companies can apply for the funds. However, every financial assistance program will allocate some of the loans and/or grants to minorities (including Black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ+), veterans, or grants for women owned businesses. The majority of funds are available for businesses in Nashville, Knoxville or Memphis, but funds can be available throughout the state.

Minority and women owned small businesses are provided with ongoing support, in addition to receiving interest-free loans or free grants from the government. There are also free mentoring and business coaching services available in Tennessee. Moreover, they can assist with creating business plans, SEO and online marketing services, networking events, and more. The primary focus is on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and MWBE (Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises), but anyone who is qualified can apply for loans or grants.

Loans or Free Grants for Women or Minority Owned Small Businesses in Tennessee

Any business can apply, and the loan and free grant programs on the list below are up to date. Every lender or agency provides funds for minorities, women or other disadvantaged businesses, such as veterans, Asians, and LGBTQ+ among others.

All Year Assistance

United Way

United Way offers assistance for businesses based in Chattanooga. This non-profit assists Black, low-income, and minority owned businesses (among others) to apply for loans, free grants, and other support. They offer a variety of services, including workforce development programs, an Entrepreneur Center, sales and marketing assistance, and more. Furthermore, the aim is to assist every business to grow and succeed. However, there is a special focus on the most disadvantaged. Click the link above for more details.

Pathway Lending Flex Fund

Businesses in the Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga areas may apply for the Pathway Lending Flex Fund. They are a source of Capital that combines low-cost loans (or even 0% interest loans) with equity conversions. Moreover, there is a Veteran Outreach Center, information about free government grants, SBA loans, and a women’s center. You can also get other assistance, such as advice. Click the link above to find out more.

The Company Lab (CO. LAB)

The Company Lab is also available for start-ups in Chattanooga. They facilitate microloans from Kiva with 0% APR since the company is a trustee. Moreover, there are several accelerator programs available for MWBE businesses. These include consumer products companies, and businesses focused on outdoor products. Additionally, there is a gig-tank, 365 degree mentoring service. There is also additional assistance available, including information about grant funding. Click the link above to keep reading.

This is quite similar to one of the free grants and loans for minority and women owned businesses in South Carolina, the Minority Business Accelerator .

Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative

The City of Memphis, Goldman Sachs, Hope Enterprise, and Historical Black Owned Colleges are collaborating to support Black women and male owned businesses. Small dollar loans are granted for qualified start-up companies or small businesses. They also offer assistance with procurement in Tennessee, business classes, coaching, and other more. Click the link to learn more about the Collaborative.

Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center (Epicenter)

The Entrepreneurship Powered Innovation Center (Epicenter) offers financial assistance, advice and coaching to small businesses in Memphis, especially Black owned ones. More than 50% of their clients are minorities, mainly Black business owners or start-ups. They can also help you apply for loans, grants from the government, provide technical advice, and other support. Entrepreneurs are also a major focus. You can click the link above to find more information.

Tennessee MBDA Business Center

The Tennessee MBDA Business Center, or Minority Business Development Agency, provides support for businesses in Memphis, Nashville, and the outlying areas. They assist minority businesses in obtaining capital (loans or grants), creating and maintaining jobs, and other assistance. Moreover, the center is available for both entrepreneurs and small business owners. Click the link to read more about them.

Nashville Corner to Corner

Corner to Corner in Nashville is a multifaceted non-profit which provides several services, and one of those services is entrepreneurship for MWBE businesses. The Academy Program is the main service offered to women, Black, and minority owned businesses. This is a multi-week workshop and class to assist people start a business, obtain new skills, learn, and more. Moreover, low interest loans may be available as part of the program. The graduates are often granted some funding for their own business. You can click the link above to find more information. 

Nashville Business Incubation Center

Nashville Business Incubation Center is an organization of entrepreneurs and small to mid-sized business owners in Davidson County. They also involve local, “established” women and minority business owners. This organization assists businesses in increasing sales and networking. They also provide free coaching from successful business owners, access to grants from the government, and more. It’s a working space with an objective to assist people start or grow their business using a holistic approach. Click the link above to get details.

This is quite similar to one of the free grants and loans for minority and women owned businesses in Texas, the Houston Business Ecosystem Alliance for Minorities & Women.

Black Business Coalition

The Black Business Coalition offers assistance to Black owned businesses in Williamson County. Several minority (Black) owned leaders, business owners, corporations, and others work together to support one another. The coalition also provides information about grants, workshops, professional development opportunities, networking, low-cost loans, and other local resources. Click the link above to find out more.