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Accelerator program launches grant opportunities for potential business ideas

by Writing by Design Media, Inc. staff

According to a news release, a grant program was announced for aspiring and budding entrepreneurs in West Tennessee. The initiative is part of the Ford Motor Company Fund - the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.

The program will offer West Tennessee residents training, resources and up to $5,000 for potential businesses and ventures. Residents in Fayette, Hardeman, Haywood, Lauderdale, Madison, Shelby and Tipton counties can apply for the grants.

Four organizations are collaborating on this initiative.

Heartland Forward is a "nonpartisan, nonprofit 'think and do tank' focused on improving economic performance in the center of the United States," according to the website.

"Problem solving with an entrepreneurial mindset will be key to rebuilding our post-COVID local economies, and our Community Growth Program and Toolkit has already proven to be a successful, meaningful way to accelerate the entrepreneurial thinking needed to help our communities thrive, "said Ross DeVol, president and CEO of Heartland Forward.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing this program to West Tennessee as part of our commitment to support 1,000 Builders across the American Heartland by 2023. We’re confident this next cohort of Builders will have the innovative thinking and ideas to create real change in their communities, and we look forward to seeing what they can accomplish in the months and years to come.”


Builders + Backers offers a 90-day Idea Accelerator program for entrepreneurs who want to test out business ideas with non-dilutive funding.

"Entrepreneurship is seeing a problem that exists and experimenting with a solution to address it," said Donna Harris, CEO of Builders + Backers. "Millions of Americans see problems and solutions everyday while driving our kids to school, shopping online or waiting on hold to speak to a doctor. And we say, 'someone should fix this or build that.' Unfortunately, that's where millions of ideas end. We're excited to partner with Heartland Forward and the Ford Motor Company Fund to help get 20 of these ideas in West Tennessee from concept to action."

"Ford Motor Company Fund has been supporting local communities for more than 70 years. The Ford Fund provides resources and opportunities that advance racial equity and empower people to reach their highest potential," according to the news release.

“Ford is a committed partner to our new neighbors in West Tennessee and we are thrilled to be working with Heartland Forward to invest in the region,” said Ford Motor Company Fund economic mobility director, Mike Schmidt. “We believe in building pathways with people who have historically had limited opportunities for business development and ownership through access to capital and training. Through these new partnerships we hope to help bring aspiring entrepreneurs’ dreams to life.”

In West Tennessee, there are two nonprofit organizations with training programs and resources for entrepreneurs.

  • The CO. a regional innovation hub located in Jackson, Tenn.

  • Epicenter, a entrepreneurship and business development organization, located in Memphis, Tenn.

The application deadline is Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. To apply, visit

To learn more about the Ford Fund, visit

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