Knoxville Biz Ticker: TN small businesses approved for $116.9 million through State Small Business Credit Initiative

TN small businesses approved for $116.9 million through State Small Business Credit Initiative

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The U.S. Department of Treasury announced today the approval of up to $116.9 million in funding under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to support small business growth in Tennessee.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they play a central role in building strong communities throughout Tennessee,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee. “I’m pleased that this funding will help expand the growth of small businesses and encourage interested Tennesseans to utilize these funds to promote economic growth in our state.”

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) will operate an initiative called Fund Tennessee, which is made up of a suite of programs from venture capital, to loan programs and technical assistance. TNECD allocated $46.9 million for the debt program that will work with participating Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) to serve rural to urban areas of the state, including underserved communities.

“With one of the top business climates in the country, Tennessee is the ideal location to create, launch and grow a business,” said TNECD Commissioner Stuart McWhorter. “We appreciate the U.S. Department of Treasury for approving this funding, which will support and expand Tennessee’s small business and entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

TNECD, in partnership with LaunchTN, allocated $70 million for the program, which is focused on direct investments in early-stage startups, along with a fund-of-funds strategy investing in emerging venture capital fund managers.

“Access to investment capital has been a challenge in Tennessee, so these funds will fill an immediate demand and support growth in startups that are primed to reach their potential,” said LaunchTN CEO Lindsey Cox. “We are eager to help founders across the state access this capital so they can continue innovating.”

TNECD and LaunchTN are hosting regional kickoff meetings to give an overview of the new Fund Tennessee initiative. The meetings will begin today and continue through April. To learn more or register for a kickoff meeting, visit here.

The SSBCI program provides funding to empower small businesses to access capital needed to invest in job-creating opportunities.

In addition to generating private investment in states across the country, SSBCI provides historic investments in U.S. territories, with significant impacts for growing access to credit in these markets. Through SSBCI, U.S. Treasury has allocated more than $300 million to support small businesses and entrepreneurs.

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook:

Announcing the 2023 What’s the Big Idea? Pitch Competition finalists

KEC is excited to announce the finalists for the annual pitch competition, “What’s The Big Idea? Pitch Competition”.

Congratulations to B-Roll Bank, The Mighty Wig Rental, SpaceCraft, TravL, SimplePost Social, SpeakBit, and Vitriform3D for moving on to the final round!

The final competition will take place over the span of a single 48 hour weekend, March 3rd - 5th with an in-person finale event on March 5th.

You can register for the event HERE.

Tennessee awards over $5 million in Grow Your Own subgrants for Teacher Apprenticeship programs

Nashville, TN – Today, the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee Grow Your Own Center announced over $5 million in subgrant funding has been awarded to five educator preparation providers (EPPs) to expand the Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship programs to increase access and remove barriers to the educator profession, in alignment with the state’s Grow Your Own initiative.

To further the statewide scale and reach, these subgrants have been awarded to five teacher apprenticeship EPPs: Austin Peay State University, Lincoln Memorial University, Arete Memphis Public Montessori, Lipscomb University, and the University of Memphis. The initial subgrant funding supports the program launch, candidate enrollment, and institutional costs.

"Since the department launched the Grow Your Own initiative in 2020, we are thrilled to see higher education partners and school districts come together in innovative ways to help more aspiring teachers enter the profession,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Our collaboration and shared commitment to create high-quality teacher apprenticeship programs will increase the number of qualified educators across the state serving students in our classrooms.”

In partnership with the department and University of Tennessee System, the Tennessee Grow Your Own Center is leading innovative teacher apprenticeship programs for educator credentialing, ensuring districts and candidates statewide have access to varied programs and degrees – at no cost.

Tennessee has 9 total approved EPP apprenticeship institutions, offering registered teacher apprenticeships to 30+ districts and serving 200+ candidates. Beginning in 2020, this builds on the nearly 650 candidates served through the initial 65 district and EPP partnerships. The new apprenticeship models that launched in spring 2023, spanning master’s, bachelor’s, and licensure-only pathways, bring additional opportunities for districts to strategically address staffing challenges through high-quality programs.

“The impact of the Grow Your Own Apprenticeship subgrants is seen in the expressions of excitement of our teacher candidates,” said Dr. Susan Wagner, Director and Associate Professor, Master of Education in Initial Teacher Licensure, Lincoln Memorial University. “When relieved of the financial burdens of tuition and textbooks and assured of a consistent and rising income while pursuing the dream of becoming a teacher in Tennessee, our teacher candidates at Lincoln Memorial University can focus their energies on applying knowledge in their clinical classroom settings. Rather than being a student of theory, they become co-practitioners under the supervision of experienced mentor teachers and Lincoln Memorial University faculty.”

“We are so grateful for the support of the TN Department of Education and the UT Grow Your Own Center,” said Dr. Lisa Barron, Associate Dean and Director of Teacher Education and Partnerships, Austin Peay State University. “This subgrant will allow us to continue the exciting apprenticeship work we are doing with our district partners – stemming the teacher shortage and supporting a more diverse teacher workforce.

“The GYO subgrant will make a major difference in our program's ability to support apprentices, not only because we can completely cover all costs like licensing exams and textbooks, but because our partner district can reinvest what they would be paying in EPP tuition into higher wages for apprentices, allowing them to earn a more sustainable salary while completing training,” said Bob Nardo, Executive Director, Arete Memphis Montessori Residency. “This funding from the GYO center will have an immediate impact on our partner district's teacher pipeline, leading to more access for at-risk students in Tennessee to high quality teachers excellently prepared to provide them with a rich and rigorous public Montessori education.”

"The subgrant award allows our EPP to expand access for teacher assistants and paraprofessionals who might not otherwise be able to complete our teacher licensure programs. In addition to the obstacle of university tuition, the other costs of the degree program (e.g., textbooks, Praxis costs, computers) often prove to be barriers for students,” said Celia Anderson, Interim Assistant Dean, College of Education, University of Memphis. “We are thrilled that the subgrant will allow us to fund a truly no-cost program for teacher apprentices that will open up new opportunities to prepare excellent teachers."

Tennessee was the first state to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to have Teacher Apprenticeship programs between school districts and EPPs, and Tennessee’s Teacher Apprenticeship models aligns leading practices in teacher preparation and development with the rigors of the nationally registered apprenticeship process. As a part of the department’s Best for All strategic plan, the Grow Your Own initiative aims to set a new path for the educator profession and for Tennessee to be the top state in which to become and remain a teacher and leader.

The Center will offer future competitive grant opportunities for EPPs approved to offer Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship programs. Both the Center and the department continue to prioritize high-quality program delivery and EPP innovation, leveraging early program success, including competency-based programs, mentor training and creative staffing, high school Teacher Apprenticeship Program (TAP) pipelines and partnerships, and third-party partners for wraparound supports.

Through a strong partnership with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD), the department is excited to celebrate the Grow Your Own initiative with a special event next week, to ensure commitment that year after year, the state will continue to invest in high-quality, no-cost opportunities for Tennesseans to earn a degree and teacher’s license for free, while getting paid to do so.

In addition to continuing to strengthen and sustain the educator profession, the department has strategically focused efforts on launching the Tennessee Teacher Retention Listening Tour, to hear directly from educators about their lived experiences in the classroom and is offering an opportunity to Tennessee teachers to contribute their input related to best practices or approaches to boost teacher retention across the state. For programmatic inquiries, contact For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact

Y-12 accepting applications for STEM classroom grants

Oak Ridge, Tenn.— To kick off Engineers Week, which is held annually during the last week in February, Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) announced Monday that it is once again sponsoring five $1,000 grants for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in East Tennessee classrooms. The goal of the grants, designated for grades K–12, is to foster advancement of STEM activities in the classroom and to help develop Y-12’s future workforce. CNS manages and operates the Y-12 National Security Complex.

This is the second year that Y-12 has offered STEM classroom grants. Projects which received awards in 2022 included an aquaponics teaching lab, a rainwater runoff design challenge, and development of a curriculum in pneumatics, which involves engineering using pressurized air. “It is so exciting to see the variety of projects that teachers dream up to enhance STEM learning in East Tennessee,” said Y-12 Education Outreach Specialist Kristin Waldschlager. “CNS is honored to support their efforts, and to see how they will inspire students who could grow up to work at Y-12.”

Public and private school teachers or school administrators in the following East Tennessee counties may apply:

  • Anderson

  • Blount

  • Campbell

  • Claiborne

  • Cocke

  • Cumberland

  • Grainger

  • Hamblen

  • Jefferson

  • Knox

  • Loudon

  • McMinn

  • Meigs

  • Monroe

  • Morgan

  • Rhea

  • Roane

  • Scott

  • Sevier

  • Union

Grant application information is available on the Y-12 website. Applications will be accepted through March 20, 2023. Educators who are immediate family members of Y-12 employees are not eligible to apply for or receive a grant.

Y-12 staff will evaluate the grant applications and make recommendations for grant allocations. Once a final decision is made, five grants of $1,000 each will be made payable to the individual school and will be dispersed to the teacher or administrator in accordance with school protocol.

Grants will be awarded in April, and all funds must be spent by July 31, 2023.

USDA ready to help 27 Tennessee counties' farmers and ranchers recover from recent drought disaster

Knox County was declared a contiguous disaster county due to drought and heat using the Secretarial Disaster Designation process. Under this designation, if you have operations in any primary or contiguous county, you are eligible to apply for low interest emergency loans.

Emergency loans help you recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding and other natural disasters or quarantine.

You have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. You can borrow up to 100 percent of actual production or physical losses, to a maximum amount of $500,000. Applications for assistance in the disaster-stricken counties will be accepted by the Farm Service Agency through 10/02/2023.

For more information about emergency loans, contact Farm Loan Office, Rachel Niceley, at the Knox County USDA Service Center located at 4730 New Harvest Ln, Ste. 100; Knoxville, TN 37918, or by phone at 865-291-9518 or visit

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the

Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Nominations sought for City's next Poet Laureate

The City of Knoxville and the Arts & Culture Alliance seek nominations for the City’s next Poet Laureate. The form is available at

Knoxville has a long and rich literary heritage that includes Nikki Giovanni, James Agee, Cormac McCarthy and Frances Hodgson Burnett. The Poet Laureate program, created in 2016, aims to extend and build on this heritage by recognizing and supporting resident poets of exceptional talent and accomplishment.

Residents who have served as Knoxville’s Poet Laureate:

  • R.B. Morris – songwriter, musician and playwright

  • Marilyn Kallet – retired director of the University of Tennessee’s Creative Writing Program

  • Rhea Carmon – slam poet, performer and organizer of the Southern Fried Poetry Slam being held June 7-10, 2023, in Knoxville

The Poet Laureate serves as a public voice of Knoxville, creating city-specific works and participating in literary outreach and educational programs.

Poet Laureates serve one year with an optional one-year renewal and receive a $3,000 annual honorarium.

A poet who has served may not be renominated, nor can poets self-nominate. Nominees must live within Knoxville city limits, be at least 18 years old, and have had at least one book of poetry published (or an equivalent body of work).

Nominations are due 5 p.m. on Friday, March 31, 2023, in person or by mail at:

Arts & Culture Alliance100 S. Gay St., Suite 201Knoxville TN 37902

Visit for details about the program, a nomination form and more about the City’s Poet Laureates and their work.

One Knoxville SC and United Way of Greater Knoxville create ‘Goals for Good’ campaign to give to local causes

February 20, 2023, Knoxville, Tenn. – One Knoxville SC, in partnership with United Way of Greater Knoxville (UWGK), has developed a new program called Goals for Good, which uses soccer as a platform to give back to our local Knoxville community. One Knox fans and business partners will have the opportunity to pledge a dollar amount per goal scored throughout the 2023 season. Each game, through Goals for Good, One Knox will champion and raise money in support of local nonprofits.

“We are so excited to continue our partnership with One Knox SC through the Goals for Good campaign,” shared Matt Ryerson, United Way of Greater Knoxville President and CEO. “This program is a great example of the innovative ways we can all come together to pour into our community and have a huge impact.”

Goals for Good kicks off Saturday, March 18, in support of The Community Schools Initiative – a program that uses public schools as a hub for organizing community resources to improve neighborhood health, safety, and student academic success.

“We are passionate about using soccer as a force for good in Knoxville,” says Sam Weisbrod, Executive Director of One Knoxville’s newly formed nonprofit arm, the One Knox Collective. “Through Goals for Good, we hope to encourage our fans to join us and collectively champion the local causes we care deeply about.”

About United Way of Greater Knoxville

United Way of Greater Knoxville is part of United Way Worldwide, the largest charitable organization in the world. Through more than 112 programs in nearly 48 different agencies, United Way of Greater Knoxville is an innovative problem-solver and facilitator of social change dedicated to creating a more equitable Knoxville with stable housing, financial security, quality early care and education, access to food, economic mobility, and more. For more information, visit

About One Knoxville SC One Knoxville is a professional soccer team playing in the United Soccer League (USL). Their mission, as a Club, is to give every kid in Knoxville access to the benefits of playing the game in a fun, safe and welcoming environment and to break down all socioeconomic barriers between aspiring athletes and programs. They aim to provide best-in-class programs for all One Knoxville players and coaches, inspiring them to reach their full potential and, in doing so, inspiring the next generation to do the same. For more information, visit

The University of Tennessee Medical Center and The University of Tennessee Knoxville, College of Nursing Announce BSN Scholars Program

February 16, 2023 – Knoxville, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC) and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Nursing are partnering to create a new undergraduate nursing program that will be located at a satellite campus adjacent to UTMC. The University of Tennessee Medical Center – University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Nursing BSN Scholars Program is a robust academic-practice partnership that will offer nursing students an opportunity to learn and train inside UTMC, the region’s academic medical center.

According to Dr. Sandy Leake, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at UTMC, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT) students accepted into the BSN Scholars Program will attend class and complete their clinical rotations at UTMC with access to an onsite learning lab and simulation center at UTMC’s satellite campus, which will be located at the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm. The BSN Scholars Program will have the same accreditation standards and follow the same mission, vision, values, and honor code as the college’s existing programs.

“Students in the BSN Scholars Program will have scholarships from UTMC with a three-year work commitment post-graduation. All classes will be taught by College of Nursing faculty whose positions will also be funded by UTMC,” said Leake.

Dr. Victoria Niederhauser, Dean of the College of Nursing at UT, explained that the BSN Scholars Program and partnership with The University of Tennessee Medical Center give the college an opportunity to increase the number of students who graduate with a BSN.

“Through the BSN Scholars Program, graduating an increased number of the best and brightest baccalaureate nursing students will contribute to our highly qualified and educated workforce of nurses serving the East Tennessee region,” said Niederhauser.

Niederhauser said that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care workforce was facing challenges due to burnout and other factors. The pandemic has exacerbated those challenges, leading to national health care staffing shortages. According to a nursing workforce analysis in Health Affairs, the total supply of registered nurses (RN) in the U.S. decreased by more than 100,000 from 2020 to 2021 – the largest drop over the past four decades.

“This mutually beneficial partnership addresses the complex and unprecedented nursing shortage that has impacted not only our region, but the entire nation, and we are thrilled to be building upon our long-standing relationship with UT’s College of Nursing to make this program a reality,” said Leake. “The opportunity for these nursing students to receive their education and training in the very medical center they will hold their first RN position fosters confidence as they transition from academic learning into working full-time in the clinical setting.”

Leake said that nurses comprise approximately one-third of a typical hospital workforce, with RNs being essential to patient care and high-quality outcomes. UTMC has been focused on creating innovative solutions required to address unprecedented nursing workforce challenges in East Tennessee. The BSN Scholars Program will provide an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) curriculum, spanning 15 months, for college juniors with anticipated graduation of its first class in the fall of 2024. Through the partnership with the College of Nursing, UTMC’s dedicated and funded nursing school will increase the number of students able to enroll in the College of Nursing’s well established, top-tier nursing program who will graduate with a BSN upon program completion. It is estimated that approximately 100 additional nurses will annually graduate from the program with a BSN as it grows. Those nurses will go on to work directly at the bedside at UTMC.

“We are very excited about this collaborative partnership with the University of Tennessee’s College of Nursing and believe the BSN Scholars Program is a unique model for the country as it strategically creates a consistent conduit to increase the number of BSN nurses who will provide the highest quality of care to our regional community,” said Joseph R. Landsman Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of UTMC. “The BSN Scholars Program will help elevate academic excellence at The University of Tennessee Medical Center, and its partnering institutions, as well as in the nursing industry.”

“Through this innovative new program, our nursing students will graduate with the skills and experience they need to make an immediate impact for their patients and their community,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman. “This program is an example of how UT Knoxville, the state’s flagship land-grant university, works with partners like The University of Tennessee Medical Center to expand access to education and meet industry and workforce needs.”

elliTek helps area manufacturers get a grip and move forward

February 14, 2023, Knoxville, Tennessee - What would a robot be without a gripper? Pretty useless. Grippers allow robots to automate key processes, like assembly, inspection, machine tending, and pick & place.

Combine gripper technology with automation technology, and now we’re really moving.

SCHUNK, the international technology leader in tool holding, work holding, gripping, and automation technology, and elliTek, Inc. have partnered to provide Tennessee manufacturers with state-of-the-art solutions for improving production lines and robot systems.

For Tennessee manufacturers, this means you have the full backing of SCHUNK’s profound expertise and willingness to face challenges and move ideas forward, as well as elliTek’s extensive integration background, firsthand experience with SCHUNK’s products, and unmatched customer support.

“We are excited to partner with elliTek. elliTek’s extensive controls and engineering background brings a level of ‘Value-Added Service’ that we have been searching for in a partner.” Says David Simerly, Tennessee Territory Sales Manager, “We are looking forward to providing area manufacturers SCHUNK’s innovative products and elliTek’s tremendous level of support.”

SCHUNK is well known for its gripping solutions. SCHUNK’s grip force is second to none as far as heavy-duty grip forces go.

But did you know that SCHUNK also offers linear actuators, rotary actuators, linear motors, work holding, and collaborative robot (cobot) accessories?

SCHUNK’s Linear Actuator Program is really something else -- you can specify down to the millimeter. These cut-to-order builds are prepared in the United States, North Carolina to be exact. You can get your linear actuator in three to four weeks -- unheard of in today’s supply chain climate.

As far as e-mobility goes, with SCHUNK’s seven+ decades of engineering expertise in the automotive industry, SCHUNK succeeds in quickly and safely converting manufacturing and assembly processes to electromobility. From axis systems to robot accessories, SCHUNK, and elliTek have you covered.

Are you in the life science, biotechnology, medical technology, or pharmaceutical industry? Not to worry, SCHUNK is your life-science partner with application know-how.

“It only makes sense to partner with SCHUNK,” says Brandon Ellis, President of elliTek. “SCHUNK focuses on innovation, digitalization, and product optimization. SCHUNK’s philosophy of ‘Visions begin with questions’ falls in line with elliTek’s mission of empowering its customers. We’re looking forward to bringing SCHUNK’s innovation to Tennessee manufacturers.”

With so many options available today, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. When you’re ready to get a grip and move forward, elliTek and SCHUNK will find a suitable solution just for you.

About elliTek, Inc.

elliTek, Inc. is a premier distribution partner representing best-in-class industrial automation products. Coined as an “Engineering Elite” Automation Distribution company, this unmatched level of engineering service and support define a level of “Value Added Services” which extend far beyond any being offered today. elliTek’s extensive integration background and firsthand experience with the products it promotes equips its engineers with the knowledge to confidently apply its in-house integration capabilities to empower its customers by meeting them exactly where they are. elliTek’s specialized training and support promote a focus on mutual success with End Users, Machine Builders, and Systems Integrators. Learn more at or call (865) 409-1555.


SCHUNK is the international technology leader in tool holding, work holding, gripping technology, and automation technology. Approximately 3,500 employees in nine plants and 34 directly owned subsidiaries and distribution partners in more than 50 countries throughout the world ensure an intensive market presence. Shaping the future with innovative technologies – that is the claim of SCHUNK. To this end, the family-owned and managed company is pushing the agile further development and digitalization of its product and service portfolio in order to make industrial processes more efficient, transparent, and sustainable. SCHUNK is facing the current and future challenges together with its customers and partners: Hand in hand for tomorrow! Learn more at

Public voting is live for KEC’s What’s The Big Idea? Pitch Competition

KEC is excited to announce that public voting is officially open for the annual pitch competition, “What’s The Big Idea?”, February 13th-19th, 2023!

This year’s competition will bring our region’s best and brightest founders and ideas together, all competing for the $10,000 grand prize. The number of public votes a company receives will have an impact on the final teams selected for the official competition.

The final competition will take place over the span of a single 48 hour weekend, March 3rd - 5th with an in-person finale event on March 5th.

To place your vote for Knoxville’s net Big Idea, visit

Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union to celebrate grand opening of Northshore location

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., –– Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union is hosting a grand opening celebration forthe new Northshore Branch on Friday, February 10. In the Credit Union’s 89 years of serving EastTennessee communities, this milestone marks the opening of the 25th location to serve Credit Unionmembers.

The Knox County Mayor, city and county officials, the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, and localbusinesses, will be present for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. The grand opening, to be held at1974 Town Center Blvd., will feature refreshments and a drawing for prizes throughout the day. Everyoneis invited to attend.

“We are grateful for the support of our members in reaching this historic milestone,” says president andCEO Glenn Siler. “At Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, our philosophy is people helping people.Opening the Northshore branch will allow us to become part of this neighborhood and give back to thelocal schools, events and organizations.”

Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union has a long history of helping members live better lives and growfinancially. Today, more than 260,000 members entrust the Credit Union with their finances. The CreditUnion recently achieved the Callahan & Associates ranking as one of the Top 15 Credit Unions forMember Service Nationwide for providing outstanding value to its members.

"We serve communities in eight East Tennessee counties and Johnson City,” says Lynn Summers,Executive Vice President. “When members turn to us for their finances, the money they deposit stayshere in East Tennessee and helps other people. We are proud to not only support our members, but alsothe thriving communities where they live and work.”

The Northshore Branch is conveniently located at 1974 Town Center Blvd. in Northshore Town Center atthe intersection of I-140 and Northshore Rd. Credit Union hours are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.For more information on membership benefits at Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union,

Voting begins in UScellular, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley annual Black History Month Art Contest

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2023) – Voting is now open in UScellular’s Eighth Annual Black History Month Art Contest with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley. Voting is available online, and community members can visit to vote for their favorite piece of artwork.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley members created original pieces representing influential Black icons in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). These included historical figures, world leaders, scientists and educators who have made vital contributions to the world of science, technology, engineering and math.

Ten finalists from Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley were chosen by club representatives and local UScellular leaders based on creativity, quality, interpretation, clarity of theme and overall impression. Voting will remain open until Feb. 28, and anyone 18 or older can vote.

The top three vote-getters will be announced in March, and prizes include gift cards in the following amounts:

  • $250, 1st place

  • $150, 2nd place

  • $100, 3rd place

Since 2009, UScellular has donated more than $22.6 million along with countless experiences and technology items to non-profit organizations across the country. For more information about UScellular’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, visit

No Purchase Necessary. Entrants who are minors must have parental consent to participate in the Contest. Official Contest Rules, including full entry details and Finalist and Winner selection criteria/voting are available by email request to

About UScellular

UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to help customers stay connected to the things that matter most. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. Through its After School Access Project, the company has pledged to provide hotspots and service to help up to 50,000 youth connect to reliable internet. Additionally, UScellular has price protected all of its plans, promising not to increase prices through at least the end of 2023. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or To get the latest news, visit

AT&T 5G Lab dedicated at UT

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and AT&T dedicated the new AT&T 5G Lab today at the UT Research Park at Cherokee Farm. The lab’s dedication is another step forward for the two institutions’ commitment and capacity to bringing high-speed technologies with meaningful uses to Tennesseans.

“Our communities gain major benefits when our faculty and students tackle real-world issues brought by companies who also live and work in those same communities. That’s what is happening today between UT and AT&T — we are committed to making life and lives better,” said UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman.

UT is one of only six universities in the United States to advance research initiatives in collaboration with AT&T. In 2021, UT agreed to work with AT&T on research projects using a 5G+ millimeter wave spectrum network in a lab environment.

“We have a long history of working with UT on projects that explored how to capitalize on emerging advanced technologies, and now we’re looking forward to what faculty and students here will learn about the capabilities of 5G high-speed broadband,” said Joelle Phillips, president of AT&T Tennessee. “It is exciting to think that innovations and applications which will improve lives tomorrow may begin as a ‘what if’ conversation in this new lab.”

Installation of the lab’s testbed equipment has been completed, and faculty and students can begin research and development across a variety of areas of interest.

“Our faculty and students are really excited to use this state-of-the-art 5G testbed to develop innovations with such far-reaching implications, including in precision agriculture, health care, and transportation,” said UT Vice Chancellor for Research Deborah Crawford. “We create high-impact solutions when we collaborate with organizations like AT&T.”

5G wireless technology provides high-speed mobile broadband networks with ultra-low latency and better data capacity to consumers.

Research conducted in the new lab has potential application for multiple sectors:

Transportation applications may include near real-time decision-making and control of vehicles, traffic monitoring, network optimization, secure 5G communications for transportation systems and allocating appropriate resources to different transportation services.

Telemedicine applications may include predictive modeling to allow for early detection of diseases, noncontact patient monitoring, remote surgeries and unobtrusive health monitoring.

Smart agriculture applications may include low-cost and robust hardware; sensors for crops, soil, and animal monitoring; self-driving tractors; and monitoring the health of livestock.

Sports applications may include immersive and interactive sporting experiences, virtual tours of stadiums, and player and team performance data.

At the event, attendees were shown a demonstration showing how augmented reality could assist a technician performing critical work on an airplane’s landing gear while working with a subject matter expert in a remote location. Similar applications exist in fields like incident management and security, in which determining exact locations of people and assets are critical.

UT students and faculty demonstrated how 5G+ connections, coupled with multi-access edge computing, provide ultra-fast connectivity with ultra-low latency while keeping the data within the UT Knoxville network.

Tickle College of Engineering Professor Aly Fathy plans to make this a core research focus of the lab moving forward.

Entrepreneurs, lawmakers come together during Innovation Week

NASHVILLE, TN – January 24, 2023 – People connected to Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem — from startup founders and lawmakers to investors and nonprofit leaders — will soon gather for five days of innovation, advocacy and connection.

LaunchTN’s Innovation Week is slated for March 27-31.

The week, which showcases the state’s entrepreneurship successes, grew out of LaunchTN’s annual effort to increase the visibility of startups and innovation in the Volunteer State.

“Tennessee is unique because we have a really strong, state-wide entrepreneurial community,” LaunchTN CEO Lindsey Cox said. “Innovation Week is a great time to have everyone involved in that community together. The value of getting all these great minds in one place can’t really be overstated.”

The free event will:

  • showcase the state’s innovators and innovation assets

  • include advocacy for Tennessee’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

  • connect lawmakers, startup founders, investors, mentors and other leaders in the entrepreneurial space

The week will include some invite-only events for LaunchTN’s Network Partners, while other events are open to the public.

March 29 is LaunchTN’s annual public meeting.

During the Innovators Summit, on March 30, there will be lab tours that showcase the work scientists do in the hopes of commercializing it, as well as educational sessions and networking opportunities.

Friday will see popup events across the state at regional entrepreneur centers.

Last year’s event drew more than 700 people to the area.

About Launch Tennessee

Launch Tennessee (LaunchTN) is a public-private partnership that supports entrepreneurship and economic development with a goal to make Tennessee the most startup friendly state. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit we are uniquely positioned to provide direct investment, while also supporting collaboration among founders, investors, researchers, the private sector, institutions, and government. We foster entrepreneurship, technology advancement and workforce development through capital access, commercialization, mentorship, marketing and partnerships.

South College Knoxville and Nashville nursing students achieve 92% pass rate on NCLEX-RN Exam

Students in the South College Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program offered at the Knoxville and Nashville campuses who took the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in 2022 earned a 92% pass rate on their first attempt at the exam.

“We congratulate the BSN graduates on their exceptional performance on national examinations and are happy to have helped 163 individuals in Tennessee achieve the title of ‘registered nurse’ in 2022,” South College Chancellor Steve South said. “This reinforces the great emphasis we place on training, education, student support, and providing great faculty and external partners to prepare students to enter critical health professions.”

The national exam assesses the application and analysis of knowledge that students learn in school and ensures that entry-level nurses can make clinical judgments and meet the needs of patients. It covers four major categories: safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. It is the final component of the licensure process.

South College is accepting applications for the next BSN cohort and offers multiple healthcare programs from certificate to doctoral levels across several disciplines. South College students who qualify for financial aid have access to a range of programs as do members of the U.S. military, veterans, and their families. The institution offers both student and career services.

For more information about South College, please call the Knoxville campus at 865-251-1800 or the Nashville campus at 629-802-3000 or visit

About South College

South College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the doctorate, educational specialist, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate levels, as well as certificates. Questions about the accreditation of South College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: TN small businesses approved for $116.9 million through State Small Business Credit Initiative