News and Stories

Quarterly Newsletters

  • Fall 2016 - LiftTN: Urban Core Edition, open for application; SBA disaster loans, deadlines near; Co.Starters Summit, Rural Task Force report released
  • Summer 2016 - The State of Women-Owned Businesses 2016, TN ranked 7th/2015 Small-Business Credit Survey/funding opportunities


DBE Topics in the News

Times Free Press: These are the best metro areas in U.S. for minority-owned businesses
Bristol, TN is ranked second and Chattanooga, TN is ranked third as the best metropolitan areas for minority-owned businesses in the U.S. according to the online financial technology company SmartAsset. Report: Minority-owned businesses resilient during recession
As the United States becomes more and more diverse, businesses run by people of color are becoming a much more vital part of the U.S. economy. Their importance will continue to grow as America becomes more diverse and minority entrepreneurship rises. Currently, at least 40 percent of all businesses in seven different states are minority-owned.

Knox News: Knoxville honors women and minority small business leaders
…The Minority-Owned Business of the Year Award was given to B&B Lawn Services Inc. Founded in 1987…. The Woman-Owned Business of the Year Award was given to Scientific Sales Inc., a scientific supplies and sales company

The Ford Foundation:  Ignorance is the enemy within: On the power of our privilege, and the privilege of our power
…Disability, inequality, and missed opportunities… The fact is, people with disabilities—whether visible or invisible—face harsh inequalities…This inequality is pervasive, and it regularly intersects with other forms of

Memphis BioWorks: AgLaunch Accelerator Demo Days
... The 15-week AgLaunch Accelerator will begin this fall with six agri-tech and food startups. The accelerator will begin Aug. 15, 2016 and will culminate with a Demo Day on Nov. 17.  Applications are open through June 17.

Growthology: Our Formula for Economically Empowering Women: Research + Solutions = Results
… Initial research has shown that occupational licensing can discourage innovations in licensed industries and hinder economic mobility, especially for low-income potential entrepreneurs.

BizWomen: Pipeline Angels offers a lifeline to trans entrepreneurs
… Oberti Noguera — the founder of Pipeline Angels, an angel investing bootcamp for women that spans 35 cities nationwide, and herself a member of the LGBTQ community — pulled together a network of colleagues to create…

1776: Helping Small Farmers Capitalize on Food and Technology Trends
…The numbers make one thing clear: if we can succeed in promoting local food economies, the rewards will be bountiful: increased profits for small farmers, recovery of lost agricultural jobs and revived local economies.
Use Tech to Boost Small Farms

Tennessean: Hispanic voices rise in Nashville and Tennessee
…It is very liberating to come to the U.S. when you come from a place that does not value freedom or citizen action. I wanted to contribute when I saw such respect for community involvement.

MBDA: Partners with U.S. Census and The Kauffman Foundation to release first ever Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs
… The Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs provides a detailed socio-economic portrait of the nation's employer businesses broken down by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status…Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs provides more recent… Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces R&D Investments for 76 Small Businesses
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 76 small businesses around the country will receive $7.4 million in grants to conduct research related to food security, natural resources, and agricultural issues.

Nashville Biz Journal: What small businesses need to know about insurance
Nearly all businesses need some form of insurance, though many (maybe yours) never get it, either because they aren’t aware they need coverage or assume they can’t afford it. MBDA Launches New Initiative to Increase Minority Access to Federal Government Innovation
… “We’re excited to officially launch this initiative. Now is the time for MBEs to prepare for the next era of innovation,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA National Director. “I-3 will not only help ensure that minority-owned firms…”

BizWomen: Can you raise a child to be an entrepreneur?
… “I hope that parents take it to heart, and if they do have a kid that’s a round peg in a square hole kind of a kid, I hope that they support their child and let them fly,” she said. “I think their kids will be happier.”

Harvard Business Review: Diverse Teams Feel Less Comfortable — and That’s Why They Perform Better
In numerous studies, diversity — both inherent (e.g., race, gender) and acquired (experience, cultural background) — is associated with business success… found that companies with more female executives were more profitable.

The Tennessean: Immigrants key to Tennessee's economic success
... A recently released report by the Partnership for a New American Economy (NAE) shines a spotlight on the many ways immigrants contribute to our state’s economy. In 2014, immigrant-led households in Tennessee earned $7.9 billion

Opportunity Finance Network: How the Racial Wealth Gap Hurts Small Business Owners of Color
… in a recent report, The Ever Growing Gap, which shows that it would take 228 years, at the current rate of growth, for black families to accumulate the level of wealth that white families have. For Latino families, it would take 84 years.

BizWomen: Teenager gets 'Real' with social app launch
… This entrepreneur, Ocean Pleasant, is a teen herself. Now 19, Pleasant led a team of five to develop the Real app — a project that has the financial backing of 1517 Fund, a San Francisco-based firm that backs young founders.

US Census Bureau: Nearly 1 in 10 Businesses With Employees Are New, Inaugural Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs
Among the 5.4 million U.S. firms with paid employees, 481,981, or 8.9 percent, had been in business for less than two years in 2014, according to findings from the U.S. Census Bureau's inaugural Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs.

News Channel 5: Barry Speaks At Marketplace of Opportunities Business Luncheon (video)
… "Overall Metro government gave more than $56 million in minority-owned and women-owned suppliers in the most recent fiscal year, and that was 9.2 percent of all of our procured tracked transactions and that's up over

BizWomen: WOMEN'S EQUALITY DAY: The good and bad news on pay this year
…The day is celebrated as Women's Equality Day, and we're marking the moment by sharing the good — and bad — news this year about bridging pay inequity, which overall means women are making 79.8 percent of what men make.

Memphis News Journal: Delta Regional Authority invests in minority biz council, mustard
… In addition to the funding for the MMBC, the Delta Regional Authority is also providing resources and support for the Develey Mustard and Condiment Corporation’s new 100,000-square foot manufacturing facility located in Dyersburg.

Tennessean: Immigrants help fuel Tennessee economy and workforce
…There is a shortage of workers in various areas, and immigrants make up a significant percentage of several fields compared with their population, such as, construction workers (18 percent), maids (15 percent), agricultural workers…

Times Free Press: Small Biz: To grow or not? Some successful small business owners say no
When a small business is successful, an owner will likely face the question of whether to grow. After a lot of soul- searching, many say no.

BizWomen: The a-ha moment behind the biggest prize ever for women-led startups
... And the problem goes beyond female entrepreneurs. According to the Diana Project, Babson’s landmark study of women and entrepreneurship, the number of female VC partners fell from 10 percent in 1999 to 6 percent in 2014.

MBDA: Asian-Owned Businesses Nearing Two Million
Between 2007 and 2012, the number of U.S. businesses owned by Asian-Americans rose 23.8 percent, from 1.5 million to 1.9 million.

SBA Office of Advocacy: The Ascent of the Senior Entrepreneur
Abstract: Self-employment is increasing among seniors. The percentage of individuals age 62 and over who were self-employed increased from 4.2 percent in 1988 to 5.4 percent in 2015. …This report explains the increase…

HBS Working Knowledge: Immigrant Entrepreneurship
Immigrant entrepreneurship is a topic of key policy interest but one with few facts... they fail more frequently, but immigrant-founded firms that persist experience greater employment growth compared to their native counterparts.

BizWomen: REPORT: The growth of women-owned businesses, in hard numbers
Women-owned businesses are a fast-growing segment of the U.S. business market, with women expected to own 39 percent of all U.S. businesses by 2017.

Growthology: ”Normal” Jobs are a Safety Net for Entrepreneurs
…The second idea that really struck me from this paper was the idea of the traditional employer labor market as a sort of safety net for entrepreneurs or the entrepreneurially-inclined. Konczal and Steinbaum layout the logic: Secretary Vilsack Awards $17.8 Million to Cultivate the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers,…
... for 37 projects to help educate, mentor, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. The investment is made through the USDA… 2016 grants include: TSU in Nashville, $470,083

MBDA: American Indian and Alaska Native-Owned Businesses Move Past the Quarter-Million Mark
The number of American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses in the U.S. climbed by 36,228, or 15.3 percent, between 2007 and 2012, reaching 272,919.

BizWomen: REPORT: Women business owners feel optimistic about future
Women small-business owners feel optimistic about the future of their businesses, according to a new Bank of America report.

Times Free Press: Chattanooga activists call for more diversity in local philanthropy
Local organizations have spent millions in hopes of improving local public schools, addressing food deserts, curbing violent crime and promoting the region's economic viability, among other things.

Greater Memphis Chamber: The Greater Memphis Chamber Announces 2016 Young Memphians
The Greater Memphis Chamber announces the exceptional young professional to be featured in the Memphis Crossroads Magazine as the 2016 Young Memphians… It was specifically created to highlight Memphis’ future business

BizWomen: The exec using Big Data to tap the power of multicultural markets
Her current role: In Lili’s current role with XL Alliance, she has developed a proprietary method of big data analytics to unlock the power of today’s multicultural markets; especially Hispanics. …Podcast at

SBA: SBA Launches New Website for America’s Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs
SBA has launched, a new website to further streamline and improve the application processes for small businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to do business with the federal government.


NFIB: 5 Biggest Small Business Loan Mistakes
There are over 44 different types of financing available to small business owners, and not every one of them is right for each situation,” …“The wrong loan can devastate your firm’s finances, so it’s worth taking some time

Herald Chronicle: Unlocking the potential of minority-owned business
African-American-owned businesses are the backbone of their communities, major contributors to our growing economy, and sources of innovation and thought leadership — not just in their industries but throughout our society.

Policy Dialogue: Women Drive Startup Activity Higher for Second Straight Year
… The rate of women entrepreneurs saw the biggest increase in almost twenty years—increasing from 0.22 percent to 0.26 percent (meaning 260 out of every 100,000 females become an entrepreneur each month).

SBA: U.S. SBA and Milken Institute Partner to Increase Access to Capital for Underserved Communities
Today the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Milken Institute announced …the PLUM Initiative, a groundbreaking collaboration to develop and test initiatives designed to more effectively provide capital to minority…

MBDA: MBDA and Fundation Partner to Broaden Minority Businesses’ Access to Capital
…MBDA and Fundation Group LLC announced today a MOU designed to provide U.S. minority business enterprises (MBEs) with cutting edge, digitally enabled financing solutions and expanded access to capital.

Opportunity Finance Network: This Election Cycle, Small Business Owners Shine but Still Need Access to Capital
In the middle of a presidential election cycle, amidst the conventions, the speeches, and the sound bytes, it's easy to overlook the real heroes of these national events, which are small business owners.

Teknovation: Memphis holding single “Demo Day” for 18 companies on August 11
In a little over a month, 18 of Memphis’ newest companies will be on display during a three-hour “Demo Day” hosted by EPIcenter, Start Co, and the ZeroTo510 accelerator. They have branded collectively as the “Summer of Acceleration Partners.”

HBS: Neurodiversity: The Benefits of Recruiting Employees with Cognitive Disabilities
There’s a new frontier in diversity programs focused not on race or gender but on cognitive ability.
The growing interest in neurodiversity—hiring people with cognitive disabilities like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)—

MBDA: Female Business Ownership Booms
The number of U.S. businesses grew 2 percent between 2007 and 2012 as the country weathered the financial crisis and entered the first three years of economic recovery. Yet, …growth in the number of minority-owned firms boomed.

Policy Dialogue: Millennials Can’t Keep up With Boomer Entrepreneurs
…Millennials are not yet at the peak age for starting a business. The oldest millennials are just a few years away from entering the peak age for entrepreneurship, which despite pop culture perceptions is closer to 40 than 20.

The Atlantic: The Myth of the Millennial Entrepreneur
…Young people very well may lead the country in entrepreneurship, as a mentality. But when it comes to the more falsifiable measure of entrepreneurship as an activity, older generations are doing most of the work.

Greater Memphis Chamber: The Greater Memphis Chamber’s Small Business Council Launches Advice on Tap Program
The Greater Memphis Chamber’s Small Business Council has launched a business program called Advice on Tap. The Program offers small and mid-sized business owners access to free 30-minute phone consultations


SBA: SBA Awards Grants to 21 Universities and Organizations To Support R&D, Small Business Innovation
The U.S. SBA will award up to $125,000 in grants to 16 Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program recipients… up to $200,000 in grants to 5 Small Business Technology Development Centers to support programs…

SBA: What Are the Top Five Disaster Risks to Small Businesses?
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to losses caused by natural disaster, cyberattacks, and on a smaller scale structural failure—like the unreliable sprinkler system that could possibly destroy your inventory and equipment.

Memphis BizJournal: City symposium seeks to increase minority business participation
More details have emerged since the Memphis City Council accepted $20,000 from FedEx Corp. to get more small-, women- and minority-owned businesses working with the City of Memphis.

Times Free Press: 12-year-old girl is entrepreneur behind the new Southside ice cream shop
Chattanooga's hip Southside neighborhood now has a new ice cream shop and creperie, thanks to an entrepreneurial-minded 12-year-old girl who fell in love with the thin pancakes during family summer trips to France.