TVFCU is giving away $225,000 in grants to local small businesses in 2024.
The 7th Annual Idea Leap Grant will include competitions in the Chattanooga, Ocoee and Northwest Georgia regions. Applications open November 16 - December 18, 2023!
See below for information on each regional Idea Leap Grant, contest rules, FAQs and more.
The History and Impact of Idea Leap
Idea Leap Loan
TVFCU started the Idea Leap Loan program in 2016 to fill a void in the community for capital for start-up and early-stage businesses. With Idea Leap loans between $2,500 and $75,000 (originally $50,000), TVFCU has connected nearly 200 unique businesses with funding while many other financial institutions would not engage with loans considered too small or too risky. With referrals and assistance from collaborators such as BrightBridge, CO.LAB, LAUNCH Chattanooga, Score, the TSBDC in Cleveland and Chattanooga, the UGA SBDC, the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga and UTC's Veteran Entrepreneurship Program, the vast majority of Idea Leap Loan recipients have started and expanded successful local businesses. Brianne Hager, owner of B's Sweets, received the first Idea Leap Loan, and she still owns and operates her bakery eight years later.
TVFCU has originated over $5 million in Idea Leap Loans.
Idea Leap Grant
In 2018, after two very succesful years of Idea Leap Loans, TVFCU started the Idea Leap Grant to reinvest proceeds from the loan program back into the local small business ecosystem. In the first Idea Leap Grant, the credit union awarded $52,500 in grants, with the Chattanooga School of Language winning the top prize of $20,000. In 2022, to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the grant program, TVFCU awarded a $50,000 grant to Be Caffeinated - the largest Idea Leap Grant to-date. In 2023, TVFCU expanded the program once again by hosting seperate Idea Leap Grant competitions in the Chattanooga, Ocoee and Northwest Georgia regions. Next, in 2024, the credit union will award $75,000 in grants in each of the three areas.
44 unique businesses have received Idea Leap Grants. Through grants and scholarships, the program has invested $485,500 in the local entreprenurial ecosystem. In 2024, TVFCU will award an additional $225,000 in grants.