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TVFCU Announces Finalists in $175,000 Idea Leap Grant Competition

April 4, 2023

TVFCU Announces Finalists in $175,000 Idea Leap Grant Competition

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (April 4, 2023) — Today, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union (TVFCU) announced the small business owners moving forward as finalists in each of the credit union’s regional Idea Leap Grant competitions. As finalists, these entrepreneurs will each participate in their regional pitch competition as they strive to win a grant to support and expand their small business.


The finalists are:

Chattanooga Area


Cleveland Area


Northwest Georgia Area


The three pitch competitions will occur during the second week in May where each area’s finalists will present their small business expansion plans and win grant funding at the end of the night. In Chattanooga, first place is $30,000, second place is $15,000 and three runners-up will receive $10,000 each. In Cleveland and Northwest Georgia, first place is $25,000, second place is $15,000 and third place is $10,000.

All pitch competitions, and the annual Idea Leap Luncheon in Chattanooga, are open to the public. RSVPs are opening soon, and more information may be found at

“We’re very proud of these local small business owners who have advanced to the Idea Leap Grant finals,” said Tommy Nix, vice president of business and commercial services. “We’d like to invite people from across Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia to come out and watch these incredible entrepreneurs discuss their small businesses, their plans for the future and the many ways in which they support their local communities.”

This year roughly 300 small businesses applied for the Sixth Annual Leap Grant. TVFCU, leaning on the expertise of local business leaders serving as volunteer judges, reduced this group to quarterfinalists who each submitted videos showcasing their business. Based on the video submissions, semifinalists were selected in each competition and were asked to provide the judges with a tour of their business. After these site visits, TVFCU hosted a voting period open to the public that selected one People’s Choice Finalist by popular vote in each region. The other finalists were selected by each regional panel of judges.

The Idea Leap Grant is an extension of the credit union’s Idea Leap Loan Initiative that 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. Furthermore, TVFCU has awarded over $300,000 in Idea Leap Grants and scholarships.

For more information about the Idea Leap Grant, please visit and follow TVFCU on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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About Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union

Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union (TVFCU), a not-for-profit financial cooperative, was established in 1936 when 57 Chattanooga TVA employees pooled $500 to create the member-owned credit union. Today, TVFCU serves more than 170,000 members who live, work, worship, volunteer or attend school throughout the 17-county service community. With more than $2.4 billion in assets and 23 branches throughout the area, TVFCU is the largest credit union in Southeast Tennessee. For more information about TVFCU, please visit

About TVFCU’s Idea Leap Grant

The Idea Leap Grant Initiative is an extension of TVFCU’s Idea Leap Loan Initiative that was created in October 2016. The Idea Leap Loan fills a void in the community for loans up to $75,000 to emerging businesses. Through the Idea Leap Grant Initiative, TVFCU is reinvesting Idea Leap Loan proceeds back into the community.


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