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People's Choice Voting Begins in TVFCU's $225,000 Idea Leap Grant

April 1, 2024

People’s Choice Voting Begins in TVFCU’s $225,000 Idea Leap Grant


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (March 25, 2024) — Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union (TVFCU) is asking for the public to choose one People’s Choice Finalist in each regional Idea Leap Grant – the credit union’s annual program that awards funds to local entrepreneurs. The People’s Choice Finalist in each area will participate in one of the upcoming pitch competitions in which TVFCU is giving away $75,000 in the Chattanooga, Northwest Georgia, and Ocoee Regions. The remaining finalists who will compete in each pitch night will be selected by volunteer panels of community judges in each area based on recent site visits.

“We’ve made the 7th Annual Idea Leap Grant bigger than ever with a total of $225,000 to be awarded to local small business owners across our 17-county service area,” said Tommy Nix, vice president of business and commercial services. “We want community members to have a chance to participate and help us choose which entrepreneurs receive funding from this program, so we have opened up People’s Choice Voting as an avenue for that feedback.”

Semifinalists across all three regions are competing for fifteen grants totaling $225,000. At each regional competition, grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 will be awarded – first place will receive $30,000, second place wins $15,000, and three runners-up will receive $10,000 each.

The Chattanooga-region semifinalists are:

  • Blossom and Rhyme
  • Creekside Flower Farm
  • Divine Purity Aurapothecary
  • Good Sister Studio
  • Humanitees Print & Design
  • Pizzeria Cortile
  • Renew Exterior Services
  • Southern Soul Yoga
  • Ward’s Construction

The Ocoee-region semifinalists are:

  • Ace Kayaking
  • Bakery on Main
  • Birdie + Co.
  • Burnside Insurance Group
  • Fitted Stitches
  • Hiit 10 Fitness
  • Ocoee Riverside Farm
  • Premier Physical Therapy
  • The Alderman Group
  • Treehouse Mountain

The Northwest Georgia-region semifinalists are:

  • A Fern & A Feather General Store
  • Ada’s Heritage Farm
  • Birria Broz
  • Caffeine Addicts
  • Cake Addicts
  • Dalton Brewing Company
  • Dyers Livestock Beef
  • Insane Paintball
  • The 706

Voting is open from April 1 at 12:00 a.m. to April 5 at 5 p.m. To vote, visit, select a regional competition to see all Idea Leap Grant semifinalists in that area and watch the semifinalists’ videos showcasing their business. Simply click “vote” and enter a valid email address. Each person may only vote once in each competition.

During the last week in April, TVFCU will host pitch competitions in Chattanooga, Cleveland and Calhoun where the Idea Leap Finalists will present their business to a panel of local judges and members of the public and will win grants between $10,000 and $30,000. The credit union will open up RSVPs for these events in the coming weeks. Follow TVFCU on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for Idea Leap updates.

The Idea Leap Grant, which started in 2018, 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 and has awarded $485,500 in Idea Leap Grants and related scholarships.

For more information about the Idea Leap Grant, 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 165,000 members who live, work, worship, volunteer or attend school throughout the 17-county service community. With more than $2.6 billion in assets and 24 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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