Business Toolkit


Entreprenuerial Resources

Are you thinking about becoming self-employed, introducing a new product or would like extra help with your business? The Memphis EPICenter can help. Created through a partnership between the Chamber, Memphis Bioworks and other business agencies, EPICenter provides assistance and referrals to aspiring and current entreprenuers in the Memphis area. 
 

Small businesses provide nearly half of the nation’s gross domestic product and half of all American’s jobs. The Greater Memphis Chamber and the EPICenter recognized that the local economy's success is tied to the success of its small business owners. 

There are numerous agencies armed with information to help jump-start your business. More information on these programs, please click the links available or contact the EPICenter directly at 901-866-1400. 

 



Support and Technical Assistance

From cultivating ideas to expanding mature companies, there's a local organizaton ready to help your business with everything from financial assistance to potholes or workforce issues.

Start Co.

The Alliance for Non-Profit Excellence equips nonprofit leaders with the skills and abilities to make an effective difference in Memphis and the Mid-South. Our educational programs, consulting services and highly-successful Grant Center transform board and staff member's passion into know how and provide organizations a clear way to move their mission and goals forward.
Black Business Association is the area’s largest black-business trade association.
Crews Center for Entrepreneurship (University of Memphis faculty and students only)
EmergeMemphis provides business support services to Mid-South startup companies and entrepreneurs coupled with flexible space options to provide the proper context for rapid startup growth.
Memphis Hispanic Chamber of Commerce provides networking and technical assistance to Hispanic-owned small businesses.
Memphis Makers and Creators - MMAC is a RSO located at the University of Memphis. A hobbyist engineering and inventing group that serves as a cultural point for a local Maker Movement.
Memphis Minority Business Continuum is a transitional accelerator that strategically partners with major CEOs and corporations, mayors and municipalities, the U. S. Department of Commerce, other levels of government and regional economic development agencies to support the growth and scalability of minority and women businesses with the outcome of economically improving inner city communities.
Memphis Public Library / First Tennessee Small Business Center  offers free information, resource and referral center for aspiring, new and established business owners.
National Association of Women Business Owners is the area’s business association for woman-owned businesses.
Renaissance Business Center provides entrepreneurs and small businesses in Memphis with training, one-on-one counseling and information to assist in their success.
Score Memphis offers free and confidential counseling to startup businesses and existing small businesses that seek advice.
StartCo
State of Tennessee’s Business Enterprise Resource Office (BERO) provides technical, financial and management information assistance to small, minority and women owned businesses. BERO’s main office is located in Nashville with regional offices in Memphis and Knoxville.
Tennessee Small Business Development Center – offers free assistance to help business owners grow and develop successful, thriving businesses. TSBDC has 2 full service centers and 2 satellite offices in Shelby and Lafayette counties, along with several smaller affiliate offices, ready to serve the small business community. 555 Beale St Memphis, TN 38103 Phone: (901) 526-9300 Fax: (901) 525-2357
Women’s Business Enterprise Council South links women-owned supplier companies with potential corporate partners.

Workshops and Accelerators

CO.STARTERS walks small-business owners through the lean business modeling methods used by high-growth startups, in a simple and intuitive way. Rather than treating a startup like a large corporation and writing a detailed business plan, participants are encouraged to build and test small models first. During the process, they’ll receive real-time customer feedback, allowing them to update their models to meet customer needs and avoid creating businesses based on incorrect assumptions. Co.Starters / http://costarters.co/
 
Accelerators
Definition: A business accelerator is an intensive (usually 3 months), business program which includes mentorship, educational components, networking and aims at growing business rapidly, ending in demo-day. Usually an entrepreneur moves into a shared office space with other new founders for a period of time to work under the tutelage of advisors and experts to grow their business rapidly. In exchange for the expert mentoring, exposure to investors/future capital and cash investment that entrepreneurs get from the accelerator, the entrepreneur gives a portion of his or her company’s equity to the partners of the program and for this reason is often called a “seed” or “venture” accelerator.
Seed Hatchery (micro fund of Solidus)
Seed Hatchery is a mentorship-driven seed accelerator.  We support emerging technology entrepreneurs with $15,000 in capital, strategic mentors, and a host of other support to mold them and their ideas into strong startups.  In return for this investment, Seed Hatchery receives a 6% ownership stake in the Common Stock of the company.
Utilizing a cohort system, Seed Hatchery will invest in a group of 6 or more startups and drive them with a 90 day program of business advice and technical assistance to refine the product or service, strengthen the business model, form the operations, begin marketing efforts and determine market viability of the business.  After the boot camp, our teams pitch for a follow-on round of capital and continue working with us for at least another 3 months to move their startup ahead.
Our mentors are entrepreneurs and business leaders who have successfully launched or built a vast array of businesses, products, and services.  The mentors collaborate with the startups to develop strategies, plans and launch activities. The goal is to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with proven expertise to quickly build traction and move the business toward the next phases of success.
Zeroto510:
Medical device, cohort-based accelerator
90-day crash course of classes, hands-on practice and mentoring
In return for an equity stake, each participating company will receive a $50,000 investment to work on developing the business plan and designing prototypes.
At the end of this phase, each team presents its business on Investor Day.
During Investor Day a group of industry experts and investors will select up to 3 businesses to move forward to the next phase where they will receive an additional $100,000 investment, for an incremental equity stake. During this second 90-day phase the companies will take their prototypes through the next phase of development, and will focus on meeting the FDA regulatory requirements for a 510(k) filing.
UpstartMemphis Accelerator
Woman-focused start-up, similar to Seed Hatchery’s program
Highly engaged mentors from across the country, including rock star women primed and ready to assist.
Professional service providers, coaches, and others ready to assist you through to launch.
3 months of intense support to build your startup, from customer discovery to prototyping to go-to-market strategy to launch; the formal program concludes with Investor Day pitches.
$15,000 in seed investment and our technical assistance in exchange for 6% of the common shares of your business.
Other perks including hosting from Rackspace and Microsoft BizSpark.
Transpark: Logistics Accelerator (now SparkGap – update info
Professional service providers, coaches, and others ready to assist you through to launch.
3 months of intense support to build your startup, from customer discovery to prototyping to go-to-market strategy to launch; the formal program concludes with Investor Day pitches.
$15,000 in seed investment and our technical assistance in exchange for 6% of the common shares of your business.
ArtsAccelerator (not necessarily for starting a business, but could be)
ArtsMemphis is pleased to announce the availability of five grants of up to $3,000 each to visual artists from the greater Memphis community.  The ArtsAccelerator Grant will support visual artists working in any media, including but not limited to 2D and 3D work, installation art, performance art, video or media art and craft.  Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and residents of Shelby County.  Applicants may not be enrolled in a degree-granting program or its equivalent
Crews Center for Entrepreneurship Start Up Accelerator (University of Memphis students only)
Structured entrepreneurship training
Mentorship
Coaching with resident entrepreneur
Dedicated office space
Prototype Lab
Memphis Technology Transfer Accelerator (C3)
The C3 program will produce commercialization pathway reports and provide direction for proof of concept investments to up to ten technologies. The University of Memphis and St. Jude are participating in an expert driven track in which domain-relevant experts are hired to produce the commercialization reports for five technologies from those institutions. The University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Seed Hatchery, and Memphis Bioworks Foundation are collaborating on a novel cohort-based tech transfer accelerator where five researchers themselves produce the commercialization analyses of their work. Each of the technologies in either track qualifies for up to $20,000 in proof of concept funds and there are funds set aside for intellectual property protection.
Once proof of concept funding is approved and work completed, C3 researchers will pitch their newly-validated technologies and business models to entrepreneurs, investors, and potential corporate partners during a showcase event in early 2013.
The TENN – Business Plan Competition by LaunchTN
Statewide demo day featuring 20 graduates of the 9 statewide accelerators.
Shortly after demo day, The TENN companies will leave for a statewide bus tour, where they will meet with leaders of Tennessee’s top corporations as well as leading angel and venture capital investors from throughout the state. Additionally, during the master accelerator program, the members of The TENN will fly to California and the East Coast to network with venture capitalists and angel investors.
Other benefits of The TENN program include access to 40 master mentors from across Tennessee, including investors, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders; office space in the nearest regional accelerator or a subsidy for the company’s existing office space; and events that introduce the companies to high-level, industry-specific Tennessee connections. 
 

How can the Chamber help my business?

Membership / Networking Opportunities
Research Services
Advocacy
MSQPC - The Quality Center
Existing Business Services
Site Selection
Incentive Information