Public/Private Collaboration to Maximize Statewide Impacts for Job Creation and Business Expansion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Governor Phil Bredesen and Commissioner Matt Kisber, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, announced today the launch of a new $25 million Tennessee Small Business Jobs Opportunity Fund offering loans to small businesses in all 95 Tennessee counties. The public/private collaboration between the state of Tennessee, Member Banks of the Tennessee Bankers Association and Pathway Lending will bring together capital resources to maximize statewide impacts for job creation and business expansion.

“Small businesses are the backbone of Tennessee’s economy and ensuring their success means the state as a whole will thrive,” said Governor Bredesen. “The business climate we’ve worked hard to create should be just as attractive to a small business as it is to a major corporation, and this new public/private partnership will support Tennessee’s small businesses by providing them with the resources they need to grow and create jobs.”

“This new fund will leverage the success we’ve already achieved through the Rural Opportunity Fund and create a sustainable funding source for businesses in urban and rural communities throughout our state,” Commissioner Kisber said. “Access to capital for small businesses has been a key initiative for Governor Bredesen and the Tennessee General Assembly. By continuing to develop programs such as this, we are positively influencing how companies create jobs and grow their businesses in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee General Assembly appropriated $10 million for the Small Business Jobs Opportunity Fund in the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget. Pathway Lending, formerly known as Southeast Community Capital, will be administering the fund and is currently raising an additional $10-15 million in private capital from participating Tennessee Bankers Association Member Banks.

“Small businesses create the majority of new jobs in our communities and they are playing a major role in the economic recovery of our State,” said State Representative Craig Fitzhugh. “We must continue to show our support by finding creative and effective ways to develop resources so that businesses in Tennessee cannot only survive, but thrive.”

“Thanks to the General Assembly and Governor Bredesen, Tennessee businesses now have access to significant amounts of growth capital to drive business expansion and job creation in all 95 counties,” said

Clint Gwin, president of Pathway Lending. “We are very proud of our collaboration with the Tennessee Bankers Association, its member banks, and the State of Tennessee. The success of our previous efforts has allowed us to continue to develop innovative and creative capital resources for small business throughout Tennessee.”

“The member banks of the Tennessee Bankers Association are committed to the expansion of access to capital to Tennessee Businesses and the Tennessee Small Business Jobs Opportunity Fund is just another example of this,” said Brad Barrett, president of the Tennessee Bankers Association. “We are excited about the creation of this public/private initiative which is possible due to our prior successful efforts with the creation of the Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund. Collaboration like this makes Tennessee unique nationally in our ability to work together to help Tennessee businesses expand and create jobs.”

The Tennessee Small Business Jobs Opportunity Fund is the latest in a series of public/private collaborations with Pathway Lending. In August, a $50 million Energy Efficiency Loan Program was announced to help Tennessee companies finance investments in energy efficient technology, energy retrofits and renewable energy systems. The State and Pathway also partnered on the award-winning Rural Opportunity Fund that has made more than $9 million in loans to businesses located in rural communities throughout Tennessee, creating 200 new jobs and retaining approximately 400 existing positions.

Business owners interested in obtaining a loan should contact Pathway Lending at (615) 425-7171 or visit their website at

To learn more about our lending criteria click here.

To learn more about the process of getting a loan click here.

About Pathway Lending
Based in Nashville, Pathway Lending is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) as certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Founded in 1999, Pathway Lending provides loans to businesses lacking access to traditional financing options throughout Tennessee. In the ten years since its inception, Pathway Lending has made more than 400 loans to 300 plus companies totaling more than $40 million. Pathway Lending loans have facilitated the creation of more than 1,500 new full-time jobs with average wages of $15.48 per hour while maintaining or retaining more than 3,200 jobs. Pathway Lending is headquartered in Nashville and currently has offices in Knoxville, Tri-Cities, and Jackson. For more information, visit

About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to create higher skilled, better paying jobs for all Tennesseans. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. To find out more, go to or