Newport/Cocke County is a SmartStart Community!

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February 11, 2021
Newport and Cocke County have officially been designated as a SmartStart™ Community, through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. "As a SmartStart™ Community, we strive to increase community collaboration and support a thriving small business and entrepreneurial environment by providing new and existing businesses with education, tools and resources," says Jennifer Ellison of the Partnership Chamber of Commerce. "The SmartStart™ Community initiative contributes to the goal of making Tennessee the easiest place to open and run a business in the nation."

Within the community, individuals and entities have stepped up to become Community Partners. These Partners come in the form of diverse organizations and will increase value in the community, along with customer and stakeholder satisfaction, by addressing the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Current Community Partners include the City of Newport, the Cocke County Partnership, East Tennessee Artscapes, Walters State Community College and the RC Foundation (Rustic Cow). Wisty Pender, State Director, Business Enterprise Resource Office says, “It is important to have a robust group of Community Partners engaged in making their communities small business and entrepreneur friendly. Community Partners are the core of making their SmartStart Community tick!” The SmartStart™ Community initiative trains Community Partners to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs in accessing tools and resources. The training includes how to use the SmartStart™ Guide and the breadth of resources that are available statewide. The SmartStart™ Guide provides users with a checklist on how to register a business, create a tailored business model canvas and locate important resources. You can learn more about the program at
Jennifer Ellison, Operations Manager, Cocke County Partnership Chamber of Commerce, 423-623-7201