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Creative Communities Initiative: Program Guidelines

The Creative Communities Initiative helps connect rural and underserved populations with entrepreneurial education, tools and resources. The initiative invites existing organizations and groups to apply for funding to cover program costs in a variety of categories that will help foster entrepreneurship in underserved areas and to underserved demographics. We intend to target the earliest stages of the entrepreneur pipeline in order to build a better equipped workforce and provide education on how to launch, grow and maintain a business. We encourage communities to be creative and customize programming that will both highlight the strengths and serve the needs of their region.

Organizations can apply for up to $25,000 in grant(s) to run entrepreneurial focused programs for a one year period between January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017. Recipients who received grants in round 1 are eligible to apply for round 2. Below are the program categories that LaunchTN will provide funding for under this initiative. We are also developing a Creative Communities Toolkit on our website for stakeholder groups to find options for turnkey solutions and curriculum. Organizations can apply for single or multiple programs to run in their region. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a need, a viable action plan (including that the resources needed to execute the plan are available) and the projected positive results.

Creative Communities Conference Calls:

The conference calls are an opportunity for potential applicants to ask questions about the initiative. The next call is TBD.

Guidelines for applicants:

  • Youth-Oriented Workforce Development Programs (K-12): This includes programs that provide education to students on skills in the STEM career field. Preference will be given to programs with an entrepreneurial component that encourages students to be innovative.
  • Youth-Oriented Entrepreneurial Education Programs (K-12): This includes educational programs that teach students to embrace an idea, develop a business plan and learn to communicate their concepts to others.
  • Pitch Competitions/Challenges: Eligible competitions include those with a competitive  application process, a presentation or pitch, a review by judges and awards to winning pitch(es).
  • Adult Workforce Development Programs: This includes programs focused on teaching new skills to adults in the STEM career field. The goal is to build a stronger technical talent pool for new companies, both those relocating to Tennessee and existing industry.
  • Adult Entrepreneurial Education Programs: This includes programs or workshops with predetermined goals and curriculum to teach individuals how to plan, launch, grow and maintain a business. These programs should include other community partners that can continue to provide support to participants after the program has been completed. Examples of these programs include Co.Starters and/or a business accelerator.
  • Maker-Space/Co-Working Space: This includes spaces where the above programs are held and where entrepreneurs and creatives can work in a collaborative space and use the resources provided in these locations. Costs could include equipment for clients.

Eligibility & Requirements:

  • Programs must be physically run in T2, T3 and T4 counties defined by TN Economic and Community Development to be a resource for those communities and their residents. Click here to see your county’s classification.
  • Organizations within T1 counties may apply to run programs for other underrepresented populations within T1 counties. The proposal should include a justifiable case for which underrepresented population(s) will be participating.
  • Applicants must provide at least 30% of the total budget, which can be cash, in-kind or a combination of the two.

What is the process?

  • Submit a proposal following the proposal guidelines to LaunchTN detailing plans for programs of up to 12 months in duration.
  • Applications are due November 1, 2016. (Closed)
  • Round 1: Applications are reviewed internally by LaunchTN. LaunchTN may request additional information to present to the review committee. LaunchTN plans to invite members from its board, ECD and other leaders engaged in entrepreneurial development to participate.
  • Round 2: Those applications selected for Round 2 will be reviewed by the committee selected by LaunchTN.
  • Selections will be announced January 1, 2016 and winners will be notified between December 2-22, 2016. Applicants will be updated on their application status between December 2-22, 2016.

Application Overview:

  • Program(s) description and overview.
  • What type of programs are you proposing to implement, how many cohorts of each, what is your target number of participants (include demographics breakdown) and what curriculum or structure will you follow?
  • Please describe the roles and responsibilities of team/individuals implementing the program and their qualifications to implement a successful program(s).
    • Who is managing the program? What other facilitators or support staff are involved daily
  • Description of partners and their role in the project.
    • Who from the business community will be involved and how?
    • Who from the public sector (economic development representatives, schools and local government) will be involved and how?
  • Are you working (or do you plan to work) with one of LaunchTN’s regional entrepreneur centers? If yes, in what capacity?
  • Why is this program important for your community?
    • How and why did you choose the programs proposed?
  • Can you demonstrate existing demand for this type of program(s)?
    • How did you determine the gap and demand?
  • What is your recruitment method for participants and partners?
  • What counties/locations will your program touch?
  • What metrics will you use to determine success? How will you track these metrics
  • Proposed budget of what LaunchTN dollars will cover and what costs will be covered by other sources (may include in-kind, but must be noted as such) to meet the match.
  • Budget template (download link)

Evaluation and Scoring Considerations:

  • Entrepreneurial Program Plan and Feasibility
  • Partners engaged and level of collaboration
  • Demonstrates a demand and need for the programs/funds
  • Measures of success laid out for program
  • Reach (what counties/populations do you plan to touch)
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