Knowing when and where to go to access funding for your business is a strategic art. We have many resources throughout the state that can provide capital to start-ups, but your approach to investors should be targeted to only those who have specific expertise in your business area. Here are some sources and guidelines for matching your needs with those of your potential investors:
- Angel investors: start-up/seed capital ($250,000 or less)
- TNInvestcos: venture capital funds for high-growth businesses in Tennessee ($250,000 and higher)
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) / Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR): competitive grant program to spur technological innovation at small companies
- Crowd funding: a unique way to gather funds for starting a business.
Different sources of capital are better suited for different types of businesses, as well as the stage of maturity of the business. Here is a chart that gives an overview:
Are you still early in your idea and wondering if it “has legs?” Then you may consider applying to the East Tennessee Regional Accelerator Coalition (ETRAC). ETRAC also has investors that can help you think through your idea — if it has potential, they may refer you to a source or invest in your business themselves!