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January 19, 2023 | Shannon Smith

New $6 million loan fund available to Knox area small businesses

Through the new 865 Opportunity Fund, loans from $5,000 to $50,000 will be available for small businesses working to grow their presence in the area.

Small businesses looking for small loans to make big moves can now turn to the 865 Opportunity Fund.

The new $6 million fund will provide loans between $5,000 and $50,000 to eligible small businesses in the Greater Knoxville area, helping address a funding gap for business capital. The fund is part of a collaborative effort aimed at expanding Knoxville’s small business ecosystem, with funding focused on minority- and woman-owned businesses in Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Roane, Sevier, and Union counties.

“This announcement aligns with the Chamber’s efforts to transition Knoxville’s economy,” said Nadim Jubran, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Vice Chair for the Knoxville Chamber. “We are committed to retaining and attracting innovative entrepreneurs who will create high-growth companies. Supporting these business owners with increased access to capital is one of the tools to do so.”

Pathway Lending, a Nashville-based but Oak Ridge-founded community development financial institution, is collaborating with First Horizon, Pinnacle Financial Partners, and Regions Bank to make the 865 Opportunity Fund possible.

In addition to the fund, Pathway Lending offers a complete catalog of small business and commercial loan products, from $5,000 to $5 million, and a full range of learning programs, from classrooms to one-to-one coaching, to businesses at any stage in any industry.

At a press event Thursday, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and representatives from the City of Knoxville joined the participating banks and the Knoxville Chamber to voice their support for this new fund.

Entrepreneurs and business owners interested in applying for funding opportunities can visit the 865 Opportunity Fund website.