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Entrepreneur Programs

From ideation to exit and everything in between, entrepreneurs of all types can succeed in Tennessee. We offer support tailored to the unique needs of entrepreneurs with high-growth-potential startups. Whether you’re a serial entrepreneur, a researcher commercializing IP or a student building your first venture, Launch Tennessee and our statewide Entrepreneur Centers can help you reach your next milestone.

Research Programs

Translating research from institutions and universities into the marketplace is key to a strong startup ecosystem. We offer a portfolio of resources for entrepreneurial researchers to accelerate their commercialization efforts.

Mentor Networks

The Mentor Networks support entrepreneurs in life science and energy, industry verticals core to Tennessee’s economy, by pairing them with subject-matter experts and offering customized stage-gate curriculum.


Resource Workshops

Resources for Entrepreneurial Researchers Workshops include curricula covering SBIR/STTR federal grant programs and the full portfolio of resources available to early-stage companies commercializing technology in Tennessee. Workshops can be tailored for audiences with all levels of grant-writing expertise.


Consulting Hours

Commercialization Consulting Hours are used to match qualifying early-stage companies with those who have domain expertise specific to the defined problem or opportunity. The results of the CCH engagement must advance the technology on its roadmap to market.



Microgrants provide financial support for grant-writing assistance to Tennessee-based early-stage companies applying for an SBIR/STTR Phase I, Phase II or Fast-Track award. From a vetted list of grant writers, applicants choose a consultant to provide grant-writing support. Microgrants are awarded of up to $4,000 for SBIR/STTR Phase I assistance and up to $6,000 for SBIR/STTR Phase II assistance, pending availability of funding.


Technology Transfer Offices

Tennessee’s seven technology transfer offices help turn research into business. Partners include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Tennessee Research Foundation, University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology, Vanderbilt University’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization and more.


Funding Sources

Access to capital, including nontraditional funding sources, is crucial for growth. Launch Tennessee offers venture investment and a federal matching program to entrepreneurs building companies in the state.

$1.7M Impact Fund

The Impact Fund supports startups solving social, environmental and economic problems, making seed-stage investments at $50,000-150,000. We look at for-profit ventures with double bottom lines in agriculture, healthcare, sustainable living, education, clean energy and financial inclusion.


SBIR/STTR Matching Fund

This matching program is aimed at early-stage Tennessee companies commercializing technology with assistance from federal grant programs.

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