Small Business Support
Tennessee Small Business Development Center
The strength of Tennessee's economic growth is based in part on the small business community and its ability to get products to market. If you are a small business owner, entrepreneur or you are thinking about starting a new business, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) is here to help you every step of the way!
The TSBDC is a network of professional business consultants with 12 centers and 2 satellite offices in 14 cities throughout the State of Tennessee. The TSBDC prides itself on providing expert business advice to all types of businesses whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, service provider, or a professional; we are here to help you help yourself.
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) offers free assistance to help business owners grow and develop successful, thriving businesses. We also maintain an International Trade Center and a Technology and Energy Services Center for those in need of specialized help.
Over 79,000 businesses have received TSBDCs expert counsel in the following areas
- International Trade
- Public Relations
- Sources of Capital
- Tax Planning
- Employee Relations
- Sales Training
- Location Analysis
Starting a Business
Starting a Business! The Blount Chamber has valuable resources and contacts that will help you in your new endeavor. Free Business Counseling is available to you at the Blount County Chamber. Please click on the available link for details.
Developing Existing Business
Let the expert from the Tennessee Small Business Development Center help you grow your existing business. Click here for information on free Business Counseling.
The TSBDC and the Blount Chamber also sponsor and offer many training programs for existing businesses including IRS workshop and business taxes; Tennessee Department of Revenue Sales and Use Taxes; advanced management programs such as Strategic Management Learning System; Government Contracting and many others.
Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is an independent Agency of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. It is charged with the responsibility of providing four primary areas of assistance to American Small Business. These are: Advocacy, Management, Procurement, and Financial Assistance. Financial Assistance is delivered primarily through SBA’s Investment programs, Business Loan Programs, Disaster Loan Programs, and Bonding for Contractors.
SBA’s Business Loan Programs
SBA administers three separate, but equally important loan programs. SBA sets the guidelines for the loans while SBA’s partners (Lenders, Community Development Organizations, and Microlending Institutions) make the loans to small businesses. SBA backs those loans with a guaranty that will eliminate some of the risk to the lending partners. The Agency's Loan guaranty requirements and practices can change however as the Government alters its fiscal policy and priorities to meet current economic conditions. Therefore, past policy cannot always be relied upon when seeking assistance in today's market. Federal appropriations are available to the SBA to provide guarantees on loans structured under the Agency's requirements. With a loan guaranty, the actual funds are provided by independent lenders who receive the full faith and credit backing of the Federal Government on a portion of the loan they make to small business.
The loan guaranty which SBA provides transfers the risk of borrower non-payment, up to the amount of the guaranty, from the lender to SBA. Therefore, when a business applies for an SBA Loan, they are actually applying for a commercial loan, structured according to SBA requirements, which receives an SBA guaranty.
In a variation of this concept, community development organizations can get the Government's full backing on their loan to finance a portion of the overall financing needs of an applicant small business.
SBA’s Investment Programs
In 1958 Congress created The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program. SBICs, licensed by the Small Business Administration, are privately owned and managed investment firms. They are participants in a vital partnership between government and the private sector economy. With their own capital and with funds borrowed at favorable rates through the Federal Government, SBICs provide venture capital to small independent businesses, both new and already established. All SBICs are profit-motivated businesses. A major incentive for SBICs to invest in small businesses is the chance to share in the success of the small business if it grows and prospers.
SBA’s Bonding Programs
The Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) Program was developed to provide small and minority contractors with contracting opportunities for which they would not otherwise bid. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can guarantee bonds for contracts up to $2 million, covering bid, performance and payment bonds for small and emerging contractors who cannot obtain surety bonds through regular commercial channels.
SBA's guarantee gives sureties an incentive to provide bonding for eligible contractors, and thereby strengthens a contractor's ability to obtain bonding and greater access to contracting opportunities. A surety guarantee, an agreement between a surety and the SBA, provides that SBA will assume a predetermined percentage of loss in the event the contractor should breach the terms of the contract.