NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) has introduced an innovative online tool, Tennessee SmartStart, which guides Tennessee entrepreneurs through the process of establishing their business.
Tennessee SmartStart provides resources through an interactive, step-by-step guide designed to assist early stage business owners establish a business in Tennessee and navigate rules and regulations. SmartStart also offers existing business owners with resources to help grow their business.
“Tennessee is one of the first states to offer a simplified online instructional guide to start a business,” TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe said. “For the past nine months, Tennessee has ranked first in the nation for small business job growth. We want to ensure that there’s no better place to start or grow a business than Tennessee. SmartStart will be a great asset to help business owners transform their ideas into success businesses.”
An initiative within TNECD’s Business Enterprise Resource Office (BERO), SmartStart has previously been available as a print resource for nearly a decade. Within the last 10 months, approximately 10,000 hard copies of the newest SmartStart print guide have been distributed statewide. SmartStart has been acknowledged as a best practice nationally for several years.
This year, the SmartStart guide won a gold award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The new online guide integrates existing BERO resources into one tool to simplify the business registration and startup process for new and existing entrepreneurs and small business owners.
“The online SmartStart guide is a clean, easy-to-use resource that will not only help users understand how to register their business in Tennessee, but also map out a business plan and access resources that fit the needs of their business,” Wisty Pender, BERO’s state director, said. “We will continue to add features and resources, including access to virtual mentors and other tools, as the online SmartStart guide evolves.”
For more details about SmartStart, go to www.tnsmartstart.com. BERO serves as a voice for and advocate of economic inclusion for Tennessee’s disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE). The office is tasked with analyzing, disseminating as well as promoting best practices and access to capital for DBEs.
It also reports on the status of DBEs across the state. For the purposes of BERO, DBE refers to businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities; as well as businesses operating in areas of low income and high unemployment in the state.