Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union (TVFCU) is kicking off its Sixth Annual Idea Leap Grant competition, in which the local credit union will award $175,000 in grants to local small business owners.
This year, for the first time ever, TVFCU is hosting three separate Idea Leap Grant Competitions in the Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Dalton areas. Entrepreneurs in the Chattanooga area will be competing for $75,000, while $50,000 is up for grabs in both the Cleveland + Dalton areas.
Applications for all three competitions are now open, and the deadline is approaching quickly: Entrepreneurs must apply by 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16. Pro tip: Small businesses must operate in TVFCU’s 17-county service area to be eligible and each small business owner may only apply for one of the three competitions.
Read on to see the 2023 Idea Leap Grant timeline for the three contests + learn how to apply. Best of luck, Nooga.
How to apply
Once you begin the Idea Leap Grant application, it must be completed in one session. The application does not save the information for you to return and finish at a later time to submit, so be sure to set aside some uninterrupted time.
Pro tip: Prepare your responses to the following business narrative questions, and then copy + paste your answers during your application session.
- Tell us about your business. What do you make, sell, or what service(s) do you provide?
- What inspired your leap into entrepreneurship, and how does your business feed your passion?
- How do you give back to the community you predominately serve? E.g., volunteer efforts, mentoring, monetary donations or supporting other local entrepreneurs.
- How is your business different?
- What would you do with the Idea Leap Grant funds?
- Anything else you want to share?
2023 Idea Leap Grant by the numbers
In the Chattanooga area:
- First place: $30,000
- Second place: $15,000
- Three Runners-Up will receive $10,000 each
In the Dalton and Cleveland areas:
- First place: $25,000
- Second place: $15,000
- Third place: $10,000
How it works
TVFCU will announce quarter-finalists for each competition on January 20, 2023. Semifinalists will be selected in February based on video submissions and site visits.
Then, the community will select one finalist in each contest via People’s Choice Voting. The other finalists in each competition will be selected by their respective panels of community judges.
Learn more and apply here.*