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Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union has announced the top 23 Idea Leap Grant quarterfinalists for 2021.

Among these are two Ringgold businesses: Devil Dawg Farms (Nicholas Lemley) and Our House Studios (Christy Chapman).

“We congratulate these 23 small businesses for being Idea Leap Grant quarterfinalists,” said Tommy Nix, vice president of business and commercial services. “We received nearly 150 applications from small businesses throughout Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia.

“The selection committee whittled the list down to these quarterfinalists after reviewing the applications,” Nix said. “There were many great applicants, so this was a challenging task. We appreciate everyone who took time to complete an application.”

TVFCU invited the quarterfinalists to submit a five-minute video detailing why their business should receive one of the five Idea Leap Grants. An independent panel of volunteer judges is now reviewing the videos. TVFCU will announce the top 10 semifinalists in late August.

From there, TVFCU will publish the 10 semifinalist videos and ask for the community’s help to name one of the top five finalists through the People’s Choice Award text voting campaign. The judges will select their top four finalists.

The five finalists will then pitch their grant request during TVFCU’s Idea Leap Grant Pitch Night as part of Startup Week Chattanooga on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

TVFCU’s Idea Leap Grant is an extension of the credit union’s Idea Leap Loan Initiative that was created specifically for small businesses in 2016. To date, TVFCU has funded more than $3.8 million in loans to emerging and early-stage businesses through the loan initiative. Furthermore, TVFCU has awarded more than $125,000 in Idea Leap Grants to more than 100 small businesses.

For more information about the Idea Leap Grant, go to tvfcu.com/IdeaLeapGrant.

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