It’s talked about all the time in political circles as well as the news media but is it true? Is America really small business friendly? Is the Federal government as well as state governments really doing enough to encourage small business growth? If it’s true that small businesses really do drive the hiring in this country, are they really being given enough attention.
The state of Tennessee doesn’t want to be regarded as one of those states that speaks the popular political lingo but doesn’t follow through. Tennessee governor Bill Haslam recently announced a new initiative designed to not only encourage small business formation but partner with existing small businesses to help them grow and hire more people.
Haslam is doing that with a program called Startup Tennessee. This is a program that has its roots in the larger Startup America Partnership, a Federal program designed to encourage small business growth across the nation. Only one other state, Illinois, has a state level program like Tennessee. According to Haslam, “There are many Tennesseans today who have innovative ideas for creating a successful business, and Startup Tennessee is one of the steps we’re taking to put the infrastructure in place to help these entrepreneurs find the support, mentoring and capital they need to make their business a reality.”
The initiative is nothing new in regards to strategy. States, by their nature, have resources that make them highly effective vehicles for bringing people together. The Startup Tennessee program will listen to the needs of the small business community and seek out the people who can help. One of the largest needs at the beginning stages is capital. Without money, many businesses find it extremely difficult to obtain the resources needed to be successful.
Another resource is mentoring. Small business owners often start a business because they have a skill or talent that other people don’t but often, those talents do not include how to start, grow, and sustain a business. Because of that Startup Tennessee can place qualified mentors with new business owners in order to aide in their growth.
Finally, grants. Up to $10 million in federal and state funding will be available to small business owners as a result of Startup Tennessee.
Although only a few states have initiatives such as this, Federal programs exist to help small business owners. The best place to start is the United States Small Business Administration. This organization’s only mandate is to aide in the growth of the small business community.