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Ascend Business Development Program

Time to Scale

The Ascend Business Development Program pairs large, successful businesses and corporations – referred to as Leaders – with intermediate and advanced small businesses – referred to as Members – to provide mutually beneficial development assistance.

For 12 months, selected small businesses receive invaluable business development assistance at no cost to them. The goal is for this Leader/Mentor relationship to enhance the capability of participants to be competitive, achieve entrepreneurial success and contribute to the strength of the local economy.

Kemp Conrad of Cushman Wakefield/Commercial Advisors was paired with Morris Parker of True Concierge to help Morris’ business reach the next level of success as part of the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Ascend Memphis Business Development Program. What they didn’t expect out of the program was a friendship.

  • Accounting Records Preparation & Maintenance
  • Assessment of Organization Structure
  • Bidding & Procurement Process
  • Bonding & Insurance
  • Business Planning & Development
  • Capital Acquisition
  • Financial Management & Reporting
  • Human Resources/Personnel Management
  • Joint Ventures
  • Legal Assistance
  • Loans
  • Marketing Plan Development
  • New Business Acquisition
  • Operations Assessment
  • Payroll
  • Rent-Free Use of Facilities and/or Equipment
  • Strategic Planning
  • Technical Assistance

The program can also address other needs Member businesses may have through a customized plan. Upon completion of the program, Members will receive a certificate of completion and the Leader-Member team will become eligible for an Annual Chairman’s Circle Award to be featured at the Chamber’s Annual Chairman’s Luncheon.

To be eligible in the Ascend Business Development Program, small businesses must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be an intermediate or advanced small business.
    • We define an intermediate or small business as:
      • 3-5 years in business
      • Annual revenue of at least $200,000
      • Minimum of 3 employees
      • Appropriate certifications/bonding where applicable
      • Ability to initiate relationships and understand the contracting process, be it as a contract claim laywer or otherwise.
    • We define an advanced business as:
      • 6+ years in business
      • Annual revenue of $500,000
      • Minimum of 5 employees
      • Experience managing contracted business
      • Appropriate certifications/bonding where applicable
      • Building an expanding relationships, contracts with government and private sector business

  2. Be a small independently owned and operated business residing in the City of Memphis and/or Shelby County. We welcome the participation of veteran-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned businesses, economically disadvantaged and minority-owned small businesses.
  3. Cannot currently be participating in another business development program. We strongly recommend Members do not try to complete this program while working with other programs so that Members can devote their full attention to developing a good relationship with their assigned Leaders and take advantage of this opportunity to learn as much as possible.
  4. Willing to commit to working with a leader organization for a period of 12 months. Sessions begin and end in November. You will meet a minimum of once a month.

If your small business could use some assistance from a successful, seasoned business, click the link to complete the application. Applications will be screened to ensure that the businesses selected meet the criteria and can benefit from the program. Those selected will move to the next round of the process, which includes an interview. Once the final selections are made, Member participants will be contacted and paired with a leader.

For more information, contact TRUST Marketing at 901-521-1300.

Questions? Contact Jean Reid at or 901-543-3552.


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Greater Memphis Chamber | 22 North Front Street Suite 200 | Memphis, TN 38103-2100 | 901-543-3500
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