Idea Leap Grant FAQs
We've provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Idea Leap Grant program. Have a question you don't see answered here? Please refer to the full program rules. Please email additional questions to [email protected].
Q: What is the Idea Leap Grant?
A: Every year since 2018, TVFCU has hosted the Idea Leap Grant competition to help local small businesses grow and enhance their services, stimulate local economies and create fulfilling jobs within our service area. This grew from the Idea Leap Loan program which started in 2016 and has provided over $5 million to small businesses by utilizing flexible and non-tradtional underwriting criteria, an expedited approval process and other great features to connect entrepreneurs with funding when other financial institutions may reject their request. As a not-for-profit credit union, TVFCU was able to reinvest proceeds from Idea Leap Loans to fund Idea Leap Grants.
Q: How impactful is the program?
A: Since 2018, TVFCU has awarded $485,500 to local small businesses through grants and scholarships. In the 2023 Idea Leap Grant, TVFCU expanded the program into three regional competitions and awarded a total of $175,000 in grants to 11 entrepreneurs. In 2024, TVFCU will once again host Idea Leap Grant contests in the Chattanooga, Ocoee and Northwest Georgia areas, giving away a total of $225,000 ($75,000 in each region).
Q: Who should apply?
A: Small business owners within TVFCU’s 17-county service area may apply. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older, the business must have between 2 and 25 employees (including the owner, co-owners, seasonal and part-time employees, contract workers, 1099, W-2, etc.) and annual revenue must be under $2.5 million. For additional qualifications, see the program rules.
Q: Which of the three contests should I apply for?
A: Each small business may only apply for one of the three Idea Leap Grant competitions. Please apply for the primary area in which your business operates and provides most of your goods and/or services. There is a seperate Idea Leap Grant application for each region.