Home Federal Funds for Startup Incubator? Memphis Firm Takes a Shot at ARRA Half Million

Federal Funds for Startup Incubator? Memphis Firm Takes a Shot at ARRA Half Million

According to reports from local news sources, a Memphis startup incubator and business accelerator is taking aim at a grant from the federal government to fund its expansion and growth.

EmergeMemphis, an incubator with 26 companies currently in its stable, is home to ventures of all stripes: A budding ISP, software development shops, a hosting service, several marketing and PR firms, investment groups, web developers, a mobile gaming company, and a research lab from a well-known corporate name. They’ve applied for a $500,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help cover a $1.26 million planned capital project – capital meaning, in this case, buildings and equipment rather than funds for investment.

The planned expansion is necessary, wrote EmergeMemphis in their grant application, because the incubator is currently operating at capacity. The capital projects – specifically, rennovations to the top floor and rooftop of the building EM currently occupies – would allow for the adoption of 10 to 12 new companies and 60 to 70 more employees.

EM President Gwin Scott with Miley Ainsworth and Jim Phillips. Photo credit: Alan Howell, Memphis Business Journal.

“The Economic Development Administration recognizes the outstanding and demonstrated success (EmergeMemphis) has accomplished,” wrote local EDA director H. Philip Paradice Jr.

“The EDA is fully committed to working with highly accomplished business partners in order to increase jobs, promote innovation and competitiveness and enhance regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy.”

To date, 33 companies employing 215 people have graduated from EmergeMemphis’ program; according to EM, a full ninety percent of those companies still exist or have been acquired.

Already, EmergeMemphis has received grants for this project totaling nearly a million dollars. They have accepted a $600,000 grant from the state of Tennessee’s Fastrack program; $275,000 from the Hyde Family and Kemmons Wilson Family Foundations; and $65,000 from the Plough Foundation and the EmergeMemphis board of directors.

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