There was good news in the proposed 2021-22 City of Knoxville budget for the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) and those starting new businesses in the community.
In an announcement on Tuesday, Mayor Indya Kincannon proposed, subject to final approval by the City Council, several important investments in five priority areas. One of those categories was titled “Thriving Businesses and Good Jobs,” and it included: (1) more than $1 million to support the City’s economic development partners; (2) $90,000 in new funding will support business development in the city’s Latino community; and (3) $150,000 in new funding for the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center includes support for the 100Knoxville project to grow Black-owned businesses.
“This proposed budget supports our community’s continuing recovery (from the effects of COVID-19) while we take big steps forward, together, toward our shared longer-term priorities,” the Mayor said about these strategic investments. The one for KEC was warmly welcomed by Executive Director Jim Biggs.
“We’re incredibly grateful to the City and Mayor Kincannon for her continued support of our work,” Biggs told us. “Additional funding from the City will allow us to build on the success of initiatives like ‘100Knoxville’ and ‘The Maker City’ to ensure that all entrepreneurs have an opportunity to be successful here.”
The additional funding also helps address an important gap identified in the recent Techstars assessment of Knoxville concerning lower levels of participation by minority populations as well as greater access to resources to help them be successful.