Epicenter Memphis announces Memphis Small Business Opportunity FundMEMPHIS, Tenn. (June 11, 2018) – Epicenter, the nonprofit entrepreneurship hub in Memphis, and Pathway Lending, a regional nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), have partnered to launch the Memphis Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund, a $15 million fund intended to improve access to capital, particularly for minority- and women-owned businesses. Initial capitalization of the fund is being provided by Pinnacle Financial Partners, First Tennessee, and Regions Bank.


Administered by Pathway Lending, housed in the Epicenter offices in Cooper-Young, the Memphis Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund will provide businesses in the Memphis region that may not yet qualify for a conventional bank business loan with access to loans ranging from $5,000 to $1,000,000 to support growth opportunities. Memphis Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund clients may also receive access to technical assistance from business advisors.

This is a new initiative within Epicenter’s “capital stack” concept, which prioritizes access to a variety of capital types – from angel investment, to bank debt and equity – all designed to help entrepreneurs scale no matter their stage of business.

“Epicenter is focused on adding and scaling resources for entrepreneurs in our community, especially as it relates to capital, and making it easier for local entrepreneurs to fund their businesses,” said Leslie Lynn Smith, president and CEO, Epicenter. “This fund is a flexible and affordable way to support entrepreneurs and business owners — particularly in communities of color — with capital at a critical time in their growth.”

As a certified CDFI, Pathway Lending is mission-driven to provide lending solutions and educational services that support the growth of underserved small businesses. Additional business-building services and support will be provided to business owners who participate in the fund. This suite of services is designed to help small businesses grow, capitalize on opportunities, and become more bankable with traditional lenders. The partnership also leverages Epicenter’s local network of entrepreneurial partners and supports services to connect business owners to this funding opportunity.

“While we have an existing portfolio of clients in Memphis, we see tremendous opportunity in this new partnership with Epicenter to reach more entrepreneurs in this region, and, together with Epicenter and its network partners, provide a stronger set of tools to help unlock their growth potential,” said Travis Hughes, VP of Lending and Clients Relations in West Tennessee. “We’re dedicated to growing the economy and building wealth in underserved communities, and we’re thrilled to bring that dedication to Memphis.”

Memphis Small Business Opportunity Fund Information Sessions:

Entrepreneurs interested in finding out more information about the Fund can attend one of two informational sessions from 5:30-6:30 p.m. June 25 and 8-9 a.m. June 27 at Epicenter. Click here to register for an upcoming information session at Epicenter Memphis.

For information, visit epimemphis.com or contact Travis Hughes, Vice President, Commercial Lending and Client Relations, Pathway Lending, at 901-930-9367 or travis.hughes@pathwaylending.org.

Read more about the Memphis Small Business Opportunity Fund announcement in the following publications:


About Epicenter

The Memphis region has a connected and collaborative entrepreneurship ecosystem led by Epicenter, the nonprofit hub of the greater Memphis entrepreneurial movement. Using a systems approach, Epicenter drives strategy and measures impact among a network of economic development, academic, corporate, and government partners to increase support to new and existing tech startups, creative and community-based businesses, student entrepreneurs, and others across industries and stages of growth. Epicenter and its partners connect these entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas to programming, capital, customers, and talent in order to create a just, inclusive, and growing economy that accrues to all Memphians. More information is at epicentermemphis.org.

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 that serves Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. Founded in 1999, Pathway Lending supports the long-term growth and development of entrepreneurs lacking access to traditional financing through flexible loans and hands-on technical assistance. To date, Pathway Lending has made more than $225 million in loans and delivered over 48,000 hours of technical assistance. For more information, visit pathwaylending.org.

About Pinnacle Financial Partners

Pinnacle Financial Partners provides a full range of banking, investment, trust, mortgage and insurance products and services designed for businesses and their owners and individuals interested in a comprehensive relationship with their financial institution. The firm earned a place on FORTUNE’s 2017 and 2018 lists of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the U.S., and American Banker recognized Pinnacle as the sixth-best bank to work for in 2017.

Pinnacle has served Memphis since 2015 when it acquired Magna Bank. Since then Pinnacle has become the official bank of the Memphis Grizzlies and FedExForum and was named a “Top 10 Company to Watch in 2017” by the Greater Memphis Chamber.

The firm began operations in a single location in downtown Nashville, TN in October 2000 and has since grown to approximately $22.9 billion in assets as of March 31, 2018. As the second-largest bank holding company headquartered in Tennessee, Pinnacle operates in 11 primarily urban markets in Tennessee, the Carolinas and Virginia.

Additional information concerning Pinnacle, which is included in the NASDAQ Financial-100 Index, can be accessed at www.pnfp.com.

About First Tennessee and Capital Bank

Our First Tennessee and Capital Bank brands have the largest deposit market share in Tennessee, approximately 300 branches across the southeast U.S., and one of the highest customer retention rates of any bank in the country. We have been ranked by American Banker as No. 5 among the Top 10 Most Reputable U.S. Banks. We were founded in 1864 and have the 14th oldest national bank charter in the country. Our FTB Advisors wealth management group has more than 300 financial professionals and provides services to about $30 billion in assets. FTN Financial, with 28 offices across the U.S., is a capital markets industry leader in fixed income sales, trading and strategies for institutional customers in the U.S. and abroad. First Tennessee, Capital Bank, FTB Advisors, and FTN Financial are part of First Horizon National Corp. (NYSE:FHN). We have been recognized as one of the nation’s best employers by Working Mother and American Banker magazines and the National Association for Female Executives. More information is available at www.FirstTennessee.com.

About Regions Financial Corporation

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $123 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, mortgage, and insurance products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,500 banking offices and 1,900 ATMs. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.