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 and be the business owner or co-owner, and the loan must be for a legitimate business purpose.

Loan Requirements:

Existing business owners must have three years of collateral to support the loan; copies of personal and business bank statements for the last two years; business and personal tax returns for the last three months (years?); 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