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August 07, 2022 | Tom Ballard

“Idea + Accelerator” has special opportunity for Northeast TN entrepreneurs

There’s a special opportunity for start-ups in Northeast Tennessee, thanks to the philanthropy of a well-known organization in the region and another based in Arkansas whose activities focused on entrepreneurship are becoming much better known.

Builders + Backers, a national organization founded Donna Harris to drive innovation across the country, is now accepting applications for its next all-virtual “Idea Accelerator.” Over 90 days, the program helps accepted applicants get their idea “off the sidelines and into action” and, in the process, provides up to $5,000 in non-dilutive Pebble Funds.

Heartland Forward, the Bentonville, AR-based nonpartisan, nonprofit “think and do tank” which focuses on the 20 middle states in the country, provides matching funding for any heartland communities, regions or states that want to participate in our program.

Who is providing the seed funding that captures the Heartland Forward matching dollars for Northeast Tennessee start-ups?

“Our partner is the Niswonger Foundation,” Harris told us in an email exchange on Friday. “Currently, we only have funding for that part of the state, though our team would love to bring it to the entire state (and we’re actively working on it).”

Other communities that have secured slots in the next cohort include The Delta Region; Durant, OK; Fort Worth, TX; Eastern Shawnee Tribe; North Dakota; Northwest Arkansas; Pine Bluff, AR; Rapid City, SD; and Tulsa, OK.

To apply, someone just needs a new or novel idea for a potential new venture. No entity, formal business plan, or pitch deck is required.

Application deadline is August 16. To apply, click here.

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