Knoxville Area Urban League


CO.Starters First Week – Hallerin Hilton Hill

Prosper: Economic and Business Development

Every individual in America who possesses entrepreneurial vision, ingenuity, drive and desire should have access to resources needed to establish and grow a viable business enterprise.

The Urban League is helping bring businesses and jobs to areas where poverty is an everyday reality and people have been profoundly affected by long-term unemployment.  The League’s loans and technical assistance are strategic investments which will build strong economic ecosystems which will support entrepreneurship and business growth in economically disadvantaged communities.

Empowerment Opportunity Loan Program:

The Knoxville Area Urban League is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI); we provide loans from $5,000 – $250,000 to qualified entrepreneurs to start and/or expand businesses in Knox County that will provide jobs, goods, and services that meet the needs of the community.

We make loans to entrepreneurs that do not qualify for financing at a traditional bank or credit union. The applicant must be at least 21 years old; be the business owner or co-owner, and the loan must be for a legitimate business purpose.

Loan Requirements:
Existing business owners must have 3 years collateral to support the loan, copies of personal and business bank statements for the last 2 years, business and personal tax returns for the last 3 months, a completed loan application, detailed business plan and references. The Urban League reserves the right to require completion of our CO.STARTERS Entrepreneurship Training Program.

Entrepreneurs starting a new business with no demonstrated business track record will be required to complete the CO.STARTERS Entrepreneurship Training Program to be eligible to apply for a start-up loan. Start-up businesses must have a detailed business plan and references, completed loan application, and verifiable documentation to support all start-up costs, on-going business cost, and all financial projections.

Key Factors Considered in Loan Decisions:

  • Strength of Business Plan and Feasibility
  • Level of Risk (Real or Perceived)
  • Business Management Skills and Industry Related Experience of Applicant
  • Level of Community Impact and Benefits

For additional information, contact Felix Harris ( or Terrence Carter ( at the Knoxville Area Urban League at 865-524-5511.

Economic and Business development programs are funded in part by:

U.S. Treasury Dept. – CDFI Fund
Pinnacle Bank
SunTrust Foundation
City of Knoxville
Tennessee Valley Authority

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