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Incentive Grants Available for Women- and Minority-Owned Businesses in Memphis,TN

Downtown Memphis CommissionWomen and minorities who are interested in starting a business in downtown Memphis, Tennessee can count on help from the city's Downtown Memphis Commission. More than 20 downtown businesses, mostly owned by women and minorities, have received incentives to locate their business there with retail development loans that turn into grants.

The loans can be up to $40,000. If the business remains active and open for five years, the loan is forgiven. Under the loan program, monthly payments on the loan are returned to the business owner at the end of each year. So, in effect, the loans become grants which do not have to be repaid as long as the business owners continue to met the requirements of the program.

In addition to the loans-turned-grants, many women and minority-owned businesses have received additional help with office incentive grants and matching grants for retail space improvement through the Downtown Memphis Commission. Under this program, grant money up to one half of improvements costs paid by business owners are offered by the commission. Also, the commission offers matching funds to further help business owners improve their facades.

The grant programs are offered to encourage more women and minorities to locate their businesses downtown and help make the downtown area more vibrant and stimulate economic development. Memphis also has Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE), an organization that helps women throughout the city and county gain greater access to project bidding. Further assistance, resources and support are offered through the Memphis chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

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