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March 06, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Semifinalists in three regions announced for “Idea Leap Grant” competition

This Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union-sponsored competition provides $75,000 to Chattanooga small businesses and $50,000 to similar companies in Cleveland and Northwest Georgia.

The Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union (TVFCU) has announced that 10 small business owners have been named semifinalists in the Chattanooga-area “Idea Leap Grant” competition while nine have been selected as finalists in the Northwest Georgia area and seven in the Cleveland-area competition.

The entrepreneurs are competing for $75,000 in grants in the Chattanooga area and $50,000 each in the Cleveland and Northwest Georgia areas. They were selected from nearly 300 applicants before independent panels of volunteer judges from each area selected quarterfinalists in each competition. The 22 Chattanooga-area, 15 Cleveland-area, and 16 Northwest Georgia-area quarterfinalists were asked to submit five-minute videos detailing their business, their intentions for the grant funding, and how they support their community. The judges in each community selected semifinalists after reviewing the videos.

“Although the ‘Idea Leap Grant’ opportunity has always been open to small businesses across the credit union’s entire service area, this is the first year we’ve expanded the Idea Leap Grant into three competitions,” said Tommy Nix, Vice President of Business and Commercial Services. “Each small business was asked to apply in the area they primarily serve and, as a result, the number of applicants nearly doubled, making this program even more competitive. We offer sincere congratulations to the small business owners who have been named semifinalists in the 6th Annual Idea Leap Grant, and we encourage entrepreneurs who are no longer in the competition to apply again next year.”

Chattanooga-Area Semifinalists are competing for five grants – first place receives $30,000, second place wins $15,000 and three runners-up will receive $10,000 each. The Chattanooga-area semifinalists are (1) Alchemy Spice Company; (2) Cocoa Asante; (3) RMJ USA; (4) Simply Props; (5) TEREN; (6) The Local Juicery; (7) The Professional Cleaning Solution; (8) The Speech Language Reading Center; (9) W Salon; and (10) We Clean Chattanooga.

Cleveland-Area Semifinalists are competing for three grants – first place receives $25,000, second place wins $15,000 and third place receives $10,000. The Cleveland-area semifinalists are (1) Anistasis Wellness; (2) Biskit NV; (3) Carroll Printing Company; (4) Direct Primary Care Associates PLLC; (5) Happy Tails Grooming Salon; (6) Mayfield Farm Park; and (7) Rods Rocking Rolls.

The “Idea Leap Grant,” which started in 2018, is an extension of the credit union’s Idea Leap Loan Initiative which was created specifically for small businesses in 2016. To date, TVFCU has funded more than $5 million in loans to emerging and early-stage businesses through the loan initiative and has awarded over $300,000 in “Idea Leap Grants” and related scholarships.

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