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TVFCU Launches Second Annual Idea Leap Grant

May 6, 2019

TVFCU Launches Second Annual Idea Leap Grant

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (May 6, 2019) — Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union understands that it takes a lot of grit, determination and, well, let’s face it, money to grow small businesses. That’s why the member-owned credit union is celebrating National Small Business Week by opening the Second Annual Idea Leap Grant.

Businesses in TVFCU’s 13-county service area that have been in operation for at least one year and have fewer than 20 employees are eligible to apply for their chance at winning one of five grants valued at (1) $20,000, (1) $15,000, (1) $10,000 and (2) $2,500. Full rules and the application are available at

“The grant is an extension of our Idea Leap Loan Initiative that was created specifically for small businesses in 2016 and is our way of re-investing those loan proceeds back into the community,” said Tommy Nix, vice president of business and commercial services at TVFCU. “The five grants are gifts and the recipients do not have to repay them.”

The Idea Leap Grant application is open until Friday, June 7. An independent panel of judges from across the community will review the applications. This year’s judging panel is led by Dionne Jennings Jenkins of Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union and includes Charlie Brock with Brock Partnerships, Emily Gilliam with BridgeBridge, Willa Kalaidjian with Chambliss, Bahner and Stophel, Sarah Mattson with Tennessee Small Business Development Center, Gloria McKeldin with SCORE, Jennifer Pennell with Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region and Darian Scott with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.

The panel will announce the 20 semifinalists in late July, which will be whittled down to ten finalists in early September. The finalists will then pitch their grant request on Tuesday, Oct. 22, during Startup Week Chattanooga.

For more information, please visit

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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 145,000 members who live, work, worship, volunteer or attend school throughout the 13-county service community. With more than $1.5 billion in assets and 18 branches throughout the area, TVFCU is the largest credit union in the region. For more information about TVFCU, please visit

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