RESOURCES FOR
STARTUPS & SMALL BUSINESSES

 

We have resources for all stages of starting and growing your business!


GETTING STARTED   |   EVENTS & PROGRAMS   |   ACCELERATORS, MENTORS & FUNDING

BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS   |   NEED A SPACE TO WORK?

GETTING STARTED

Center for Nonprofit Excellence

The Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNPE) is a membership organization created expressly to help nonprofits achieve their missions more effectively and with excellence – from getting started through strategic planning and resource development. While their primary service area is Metro Louisville and Southern Indiana, CNPE welcomes members and participants from anywhere. CNPE envisions a just and equitable community that supports and emboldens nonprofits to ensure everyone has the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.

Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

The Indiana SBDC offers no-cost business advising, training & education, referrals, and a library of cultivated tools and resources to help businesses, from startup through sale or retirement, succeed. Meet with one of our no-cost advisors to think strategically about growing your business. With 10 regional offices throughout the state, Indiana SBDC advisors are available for every step of your entrepreneurship journey.

Louisville Free Public Library Small Business Resources

The Louisville Free Public Library has a mission to provide the people of Louisville and Jefferson County with the broadest possible access to knowledge, ideas, and information, and to support them in their pursuit of learning. Check out their plethora of resources and links to help business owners of all types here.

Louisville Small Business Development Center

Getting your business up and running can be overwhelming. The team with Louisville Small Business Development Center provides exclusive access to one-on-one advising, along with the proven tools and resources you need to get your business off the ground! Whether it’s hiring talent, purchasing equipment, or expanding your physical location, the Louisville SBDC team can help you find the money you need to take your business to the next level.

Opllo (Operation Local by Community Ventures)

Opllo is an eCommerce website created by Community Ventures, designed specifically for small businesses to reach a new, broader audience of customers through online sales while bypassing the usual cost and technical burdens needed for eCommerce. The website will be a destination for customers to shop and support an aggregate of local businesses within a given geographic area. Opllo was created to support small businesses and to strengthen local economies in rural areas. Create your own e-commerce shop on Opllo here!

RISE Louisville

The mission of RISE Louisville,  to bring increased economic prosperity to the region through education and mentoring of Entrepreneurs. This organization helps immigrant entrepreneurs navigate the system and apply innovative approaches to their business by engaging appropriate community partners. The future plans for RISE include organizing educational and mentoring programs to help existing businesses primed for growth. The RISE Cohort is a 10-week, 30-hour course designed for existing business owners that are poised and ready for growth. This classroom-style educational course aims to provide entrepreneurs with the management skills, professional knowledge, and financial understanding necessary to grow existing businesses. In addition to our bi-annual Cohort, RISE also provides one-on-one professional consultation to prospective or existing business owners.

SCORE Louisville

SCORE Louisville & Southern IN, an all-volunteer organization, provides free mentorship and education to businesses start, grow and succeed. Louisville SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S Small Business Administration and the organization’s sole mission is to help business owners start, grow and succeed with various resources for small business owners. This volunteer organization is here to assist business owners with education as well as mentoring services. SCORE’s volunteers have real world experience and will guide business owners as they progress in fulfilling their dream of owning a small business.

EVENTS & PROGRAMS

Entrepreneurship Training Program: Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) Network

The Louisville Central Community Center offers a program called: Entrepreneurship Training: Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) Network that offers networking and training opportunities to both budding and experienced entrepreneurs. In addition, they have an Annual Economic Mobility Summit which is an event tailored to economic development and the economic needs of our clients and the community.

Startup Week Louisville

Startup Week is 4 days of in-person events that connect, equip, inspire, and celebrate our local startup ecosystem. This annual week of entrepreneurial events helps to develop, connect, and celebrate Louisville’s startup ecosystem. There are many ways to get involved, including volunteering, sponsoring, spreading the word, or joining the Startup Week Louisville team! Click here to learn more.

Women in Business Expo & Conference

Join the Women’s Business Center of Kentucky for a day of empowerment and training as they host the Annual Women in Business Expo & Conference. With keynote speakers, informative breakout sessions, exhibitor booths, networking with other entrepreneurs and business owners, and the highly anticipated business pitch contest – this expo is a can’t-miss event!

ACCELERATOR, MENTOR & FUNDING PROGRAMS

According to Louisville Business First, Louisville is one of the best destinations in the USA for entrepreneurs and startups. If you’re starting or growing a business in Louisville, check out the resources below, plus this list of the top startup accelerators and incubators in the area.

Amplify Louisville

Amplify Louisville is a place for tech-enabled startups and founders to explore ideas, build solutions, launch products, and grow businesses. Programs offered include mentorship, lists of capital funding options, co-working spaces, and their newest initiative: RevIt–Accelerating Customer Growth.

Art, Inc. Kentucky

Art Inc. Kentucky is a business and marketing incubator dedicated to helping artists and creatives build their businesses, gain exposure for their work and generate sales. Services, available via several affordable monthly membership levels, include one on one business consulting, classroom training, access to sales generating opportunities, website development and maintenance, social media promotion, photography and videography services, assistance with funding and more! We’re building a community for artists to come together, learn from and support one another.

Caesars Foundation Small Business Revolving Loans

The Caesars Foundation of Floyd County Small Business Revolving Loan Fund will assist emerging private businesses in expanding operations and increasing or retaining employees. The fund is capitalized by $1,000,000 from the Caesars Foundation and administered by One Southern Indiana, which is the economic development and Chamber of Commerce organization for Clark and Floyd counties.

Chef Space Kitchen Incubator

Chef Space is a food business accelerator located in Louisville’s West End that provides commercial kitchen space and business training for entrepreneurs to start food‐related ventures. Their mission is to create food businesses in West Louisville. For 3+ years, Chef Space has been the only place in Louisville to start and grow your food business. With industrial equipment, production workspace and tailored support, Chef Space has everything you need to get started! Amenities include: 13,556 sq. ft. commercial kitchen space available for hourly or monthly rent; business training, technical assistance, and access to capital for food entrepreneurs; industry connections; and, large meeting and event space available for private events and gatherings.

Common Table Culinary Arts Training Program

Common Table works to reduce poverty in the community through job training. This organization provides training in the culinary arts to those who face barriers to employment, empowering them to achieve success in their careers and personal lives. During the 8-week program, students learn the basics of working in the food service industry and obtain Louisville Metro Food Service Manager’s Certification. Skills are refined through experiential learning in the kitchen as students prepare food for catering orders. Common Table has an 81% job placement rate and graduates have been hired at the Omni, Collegiate, Eddie Merlot’s, Masterson’s, Levy and Kroger. 

Develop New Albany Small Business Loan Fund

Develop New Albany Inc. is committed to assisting businesses with their development and growth through a short-term loan program. The fund is targeted to businesses located within Develop New Albany Inc.’s
designated service areas commonly known as Downtown, Midtown, and Uptown New Albany. This program is funded by Develop New Albany and businesses can submit an application here for consideration by the Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC) and the administrative responsibility to One Southern Indiana. 

Endeavor

Endeavor’s global movement is transforming economies, one entrepreneur at a time. Endeavor selects, mentors, and supports high-growth entrepreneurs in 37 countries and 8 U.S. markets, driving job creation, wealth creation, & inspiration into underserved, growth markets globally. In 2015, an Endeavor office was launched in Louisville, KY as one of the first in the U.S. The Endeavor office supports Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio entrepreneurs. This organization looks for entrepreneurs leading innovative companies that are solving real problems at a significant scale. Endeavor provides a merit-based platform open to all entrepreneurs who dream big and create high-growth companies.

Find a Mentor

Leverage the experience of mentors in Louisville, KY to take your business to the next level. Here you can find and connect with mentors and subject matter experts that have experience as entrepreneurs and business leaders. They can help with ideation, market validation, raising capital, marketing, business development, operations, accounting, tech, and much more.

Global Economic Diversity Development Initiative (GEDDI)

Global Economic Diversity Development Initiative (GEDDI) exists to intentionally make a positive impact on Black business development by closing the racial wealth gap and transforming the outcomes for the Black community through economic empowerment. GEDDI began operations in August 2020 and is continuing to build its capacity to become the leader in funding Black business development. Their foundation is 100% Black-founded and predominantly Black-led. GEDDI is committed to providing resources, access, and tools to Black-owned businesses and emerging entrepreneurs. 

Gifted by Design Leadership & Consulting

Gifted by Design Leadership & Consulting is a forward-thinking leadership development firm. We develop growth strategies by connecting, consulting, & coaching leadership practices that are designed to empower communities, businesses, and non-profits for both adults and youth. We have various ways we can start a coaching relationship with you or your organization: we can help your organization understand how to focus on true diversity, equity and inclusion; we can provide training on soft skills, leadership, and business management.

JFCS Navigate

JFCS Navigate has more than 20 years of experience in helping entrepreneurs from underserved communities start and expand small businesses. By providing financial access, training, and a pathway to start and grow businesses, Navigate is able to empower micro-entrepreneurs to sustain viable businesses that support themselves and the communities where they live. This program provides business marketing assistance, training/consulting, education & credit building, and microlending resources among other services.

Just Boss Up Academy Business Accelerator Program

The Just Boss Up Academy business accelerator program is designed to provide founders with the access, resources, and tools to have a legally established business. Each participant will graduate with a business plan, brand identity package, proper business registration, corporate structure, and insurances. View the registration form here.

METCO’s Business Accelerator Loan Program

The METCO Business Accelerator Loan is available to new and existing small businesses in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods who have barriers to obtaining traditional financing. Loans can be used to start or expand a business. Examples include equipment, working capital, business acquisition, marketing, sales expansion, improvements to manufacturing systems. Eligibility is based on where your business is located, and loan applications are evaluated on business idea and feasibility, experience, and credit.. Check your location’s eligibility here.

Launch Blue Accelerator

Launch Blue Pre-Seed Accelerator is a 12-week program focusing on training tech startup founders in lean startup practices while working to develop a scalable, repeatable business model. The program’s kill fast approach compels founders to prove their hypotheses through customer discovery and early customer traction. Pre-seed refers to an early-stage startup that has not yet raised its seed round of funding from outside investors. Our program positions pre-seed startups to become attractive seed-stage investments.

 

Louisville Urban League Center for Entrepreneurship

In 2022, the Louisville Urban League launched it’s Center for Entrepreneurship which offers financial coaching, credit repair counseling and other services to minority entrepreneurs looking to start a new business or expand an existing one.

Power to Prosper Minority Business Accelerator (GLI)

GLI’s Power to Prosper Minority Business Accelerator is designed for minority, small business owners who want to take their business to the next level within the region. The program connects minority-owned suppliers with companies in need of their services. This hands-on, cohort-style program provides minority-business owners with the knowledge, resources, and networks necessary for businesses to scale. Valued at over $15,000 per student but provided free of charge, GLI’s Power to Prosper MBA will provide participants with the tools to advance their business operations, financial management, marketing and sales, human resources, business strategy development, access to capital, and contract development.

Render Capital

Render Capital works to establish the greater Louisville region as a national leader in innovation, entrepreneurship and creative capital essential for our collective success. This mission is critical for our region because new and rapidly growing businesses stimulate our economy and mobilize our community by creating jobs, bringing talent, and attracting investment. We are proud to support the best startups in our region and contribute to a robust and thriving local economy.

Russell Technology Business Incubator by AMPED

AMPED works collaboratively with other organizations dedicated to helping Black businesses succeed in Louisville. The mission of the Russell Technology Business Incubator (RTBI) is to create a space for economic growth, mobility, entrepreneurship, and independence. RTBI is designed as a state-of-the-art Black business incubator and technology service center offering business development training, business services, assessments, referrals, and wraparound services to incubating businesses. RTBI will provide the support small businesses need to launch in West Louisville communities, like access to Startup Coaches, training, stipends for living expenses, and access to seed capital needed for their businesses to maximize their potential for success. 

Startup Grind

Startup Grind was created by Derek Andersen who got some friends and fellow entrepreneurs together to crack the same problem they were all facing: the growing challenges of launching a company. Their gatherings soon spurred a local startup movement that attracted founders and experts from every industry, all coming together to share their advice and inspirations for early entrepreneurs. Our community proves that entrepreneurs are in fact, stronger together.

The ONE Fund by One Southern Indiana

The ONE Fund serves small business owners in the Indiana counties of Clark, Floyd, Jefferson, Scott and Washington with loan amounts ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 at an affordable interest rate equal to the Prime Rate plus 2%. Repayment terms are two years for working capital loans, five years for machinery and equipment financing, and seven years for real estate/brick-and-mortar loans. The ONE Fund and the Small Business Navigator program represent a strategic partnership between One Southern Indiana and the Indiana Small Business Development Center. The program offers business owners an all-inclusive resource for accessing the capital required for start-up and growth initiatives, as well as the education and advising resources necessary to build a strong, strategic and sustainable business.

The Plan Room at OneWest

The Plan Room at OneWest is a business accelerator helping owners achieve success. This program is a fresh innovation that provides Black and minority business owners in the construction industry with training, mentorship, and networking opportunities in a dedicated space in the West End community in Louisville, Kentucky. The goal is to provide contractors the technical assistance, skills, information, and resources they need to grow their business and increase wealth-building opportunities. In addition, the objective is to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the construction industry through our accelerator program. The creators of The Plan Room have a goal of re-creating the 18th and West Broadway corridor as a destination of choice where Louisvillians will spend their dollars; and, an increased economic prosperity will stabilize the housing market, enhance access to services, improve health and safety, and instill a renewed sense of pride.

West Louisville Small Business Initiative

To generate more job and wealth creation opportunities in the nine neighborhoods of west Louisville, Louisville Forward’s West Louisville Small Business Initiative provides new, innovative services and support for entrepreneurs and small businesses which are located in west Louisville. Services include a Business Accelerator Loan Program, mentoring, and training opportunities.

BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS

Black Business Association & Buy Black Lou

Historically, there has been philanthropic neglect and under-investment in black businesses and communities, and Black businesses are often given less but expected to do more. It is a very difficult space for new Black creatives, leaders, and entrepreneurs. The Black Business Association and Buy Black Lou initiative exist to progress the economic health of the Black community in Louisville by developing successful entrepreneurs through access to capital and resource opportunities, education, and marketing.

Greater Louisville Inc.

As the Metro Chamber of Commerce, Greater Louisville Inc. helps grow businesses and our regional economy. We offer one-on-one support for individual businesses during every stage of development, while representing the collective needs of the community, including pursuing pro-growth policies, talent strategies, economic development investment, and inclusion. GLI supplies you with the connections, networking opportunities, and knowledge to give you an advantage over your competitors. More information is available here for small businesses, and here for entrepreneurship support.

Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) of Louisville

As the world’s only peer-to-peer network exclusively for entrepreneurs, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization helps transform the lives of those who transform the world. Since its inception in 1987, members of EO have been building a global network to serve the unique needs of the complete entrepreneur. This innovative process has sustained a growing organization that has flourished during times of economic uncertainty, and now with a global footprint in more than 60+ countries. See how EO helps entrepreneurs achieve their full potential here.

Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA)

Have you come across the “keep Louisville weird” promotions? LIBA is behind that! The Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) strives to preserve the unique community character of the Metro Louisville area by promoting locally-owned, independent businesses and to educate citizens on the value of purchasing locally. To do this, LIBA offers assistance with branding & promotion of LIBA members to elevate locally-owned businesses, and strives to promote the importance of shopping local to the region’s economy, culture, and social structure.

National Association of the Self-Employed

 The NASE was founded in 1981 to provide ongoing support, including direct access to experts, benefits, and consolidated buying power that traditionally had been available only to large corporations. Today the NASE represents hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and micro-businesses and is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan association of its kind in the United States.

National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)

If you’ve been looking for a place that supports and elevates women business owners to the next level, the National Association of Women Business Owners, Kentucky Chapter, is for you. NAWBO is the essential community for all women business owners with a diverse group of members supporting, encouraging, teaching, and sharing with each other. NAWBO is a network for women in business that supports, provides resources, aids opportunities and forms partnerships among the woman-owned business community in Kentucky and beyond. 

National Federation of Independent Business

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is the voice of small business, advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. NFIB has an ear to the ground on what’s happening in Washington, D.C., and at the state level, putting the organization at forefront of advocacy for the most pressing small business issues, such as taxes, healthcare, and regulations. That voice, hundreds of thousands strong, comes directly from NFIB’s members and makes a powerful and influential case for change and progress. Check out the press on NFIB’s national victories here!

Noir Black Chamber of Commerce

The Noir Black Chamber of Commerce Inc. is a Louisville Kentucky-based national 501(c)(3) economic development organization and Certified Community Development Entity under The U.S. Department of Treasury. The Chamber’s mission is to “Move Black America Forward”, through the creation of innovative programming that will lead to economic and social mobility for Black students ages 9 to 24. Noir Black Chamber of Commerce Inc. is unique in that it’s the only chamber in the United States specifically focused on Black students and the teaching of business educational and professional skills learning earlier, in the hope of increasing the number of successful Black entrepreneurs and Black corporate professionals over time.

Shively Area Business Association

Shively Area Business Association, Inc. is a coalition of members who join efforts to enhance the quality of life and business growth in this community and to support each other in our endeavors. Shively Area Business Association continues to develop and to change as the community develops and changes. SABA invites all businesses to join in its mission. This invitation brings the challenge of commitment and involvement in a dynamic business community.

University of Louisville Family Business Center

Since 1993, the Family Business Center (FBC) at the University of Louisville has proudly served family-owned businesses in the Kentuckiana region. Members receive the collective insights of established family-owned businesses, respected advisors, and scholars from the UofL College of Business. The FBC works to create a learning community in which families and their businesses gain the knowledge and connections they need to grow, succeed, and thrive from generation to generation. This organization helps with providing educational resources; advocating for the entrepreneurial and economic role of business-owning families and family enterprises in our region; and, creating a community to strengthen the family and the business.

Women’s Business Center of Kentucky

The Women’s Business Center of Kentucky helps female-owned businesses start and grow, and is one of over 120 women’s business centers across the country that provides technical assistance to help women start and grow their small businesses. We empower entrepreneurs by offering tools and support to established businesses so they can stabilize their companies, generate sustainable profits, strategize future growth, and contribute to the growth and economic development of our community. The Women’s Business Center offers free, confidential business coaching to start-ups and existing businesses.

CO-WORKING SPACES

LOUISVILLE IS RANKED IN TOP 15 CITIES FOR STARTUPS (2022)

Don’t see your organization listed?

Do you offer resources for either job-seekers or employers? We want to include you! We did our best to gather community resources and are continuously adding new organizations as we become aware of them. Please submit your organization’s information with the link below. 

Find a Job in Lou

Whatever you want to do, you can do it here.

Convinced yet? If you’re looking for a change of desk scenery, check out our Louisville-only job board. You can search for full-time, part-time, temporary, and startup jobs as well as internships.