Mayor Dean calls for business owners to take advantage of incentive programs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Mayor Karl Dean is putting out the call for small business owners or anyone looking to become a business owner to take advantage of incentive programs that can help them get started.

One program is the Blighted Property Grant, which will help pay to rehab the outside of a building or house in a Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency redevelopment district.

“We want to create a business friendly atmosphere not just for big business but also small business,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “Small business is really the backbone of the economy.”

The Cordelle: A Rutledge Hill Event Space was one of the first to take advantage of the grant.

Nealy Glenn was moving from Los Angeles to Nashville when she spotted the building. At more than 100 years old, it was barely standing.

“The building was condemned. It had been burned and had been sitting here with the roof open for about two years. So it had been rained on for two years basically,” she said. “It should have been or could have been torn down.”

The Blighted Property Grant will provide funding for 10 percent of documented investment in exterior improvements to the property.

It maxes out at $50,000.

The qualifying property must have a property value of less than $1 million and the investment in the property must be more than $100,000.

“If we didn’t have the support of the city we would have failed because they sort of helped us with this grant. We just came to them and said how can you help us. This city is a great city,” Glenn told News 2.

The Blighted Property Grant is one of other small business incentive programs. Metro also offers a Small Business Economic Development Grant.

It is for businesses with fewer than 100 employees and is not restricted to MDHA redevelopment districts.

The grant is $500 for every job added or $750 for every veteran hired. There is a cap of $50,000 for an individual business.

The first one was awarded to Aspire Health in April. According to the mayor’s office, there are other small businesses going through the application process.

The Nashville Area Chamber said small business owners are vital to Nashville’s future.

“Small business owners and operators are the ultimate risk takers and when they win lots of new jobs get created,” Nashville Chamber CEO Ralph Schulz said. “We really need this sector to continue to grow and they just want exposure to the things that are going to help them grow.”

Mayor Dean along with the Nashville Area Chamber hosted a small business forum  Thursday at the Cordelle.

A panel of Nashville government leaders and public leaders outlined the different small business incentives and assistance programs.

There was also a small business fair to answer questions about starting or growing a small businesses.

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