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Contributed photo by Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce / JJ and Beverly Jerman's company, Office Furniture Warehouse, received a Growing Small Business Grant in 2018.

Being a small business owner is difficult and rewarding. You are the CEO, the marketing department, the accountant and more. In the midst of your never-ending to-do list, you need to hire employees.

Did you know that you could receive a grant from the City of Chattanooga for those new hires?

The City of Chattanooga cheers you on as you complete the never-ending tasks of the day, and to show their support they created a program that boosts local small businesses through grants.

The City of Chattanooga and Mayor Andy Berke's administration offer two small business grant options for companies located inside the city limits of Chattanooga.

Growing Small Business Grant

This is the most popular of the two grants offered by the city. To be considered, your company must hire five full-time employees within 18 months prior to applying for the Growing Small Business Grant. The city defines a full-time employee as someone who works 30 hours per week.

The Growing Small Business Grant awards companies up to $10,000, but amounts are typically between $4,400 and $8,800.

"Small businesses are a big part of the fabric of our community and a large part of the workforce throughout Hamilton County and the State of Tennessee," says Jermaine Freeman, Economic Development Officer at the City of Chattanooga. "Traditionally, grants and incentives have only been available to large businesses completing major expansions, but Mayor Berke wanted to do more to support local small businesses."

Innovation Grant

The Innovation Grant is relatively new, with the first one awarded in March 2019. With this grant, the City of Chattanooga celebrates new ideas by supporting rapidly growing innovative companies located within Chattanooga city limits.

For each new job created a business can receive $1,000.

To qualify for this grant, a business must show they're innovative throughout the application process. Businesses must also have hired 10 full-time employees over the past 18 months to be considered for the grant.

"The city is a cheerleader for small business and we want them to know they can always reach out to the Office of Economic Development," Freeman says. "We want to continue to see small businesses thrive and we want Chattanooga to be the place people turn to when they think of entrepreneurship or starting a business in the South."

You can learn more by visiting the city's new website, empowerchatt.com.

The Chattanooga Chamber's economic development team wants to make sure local companies are connected to the resources that help them grow and expand their businesses. For more information on these grants and other resources available for growing companies, contact the Chamber at 423.756.2121 or visit chattanoogachamber.com.

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