The City of Sweetwater is now a certified Smart Start Community recognized by the Tennessee Department of Economic Development.

The announcement was made last Tuesday during Sweetwater’s regular city commission meeting.

There are only two cities in East Tennessee that have been recognized as a Smart Start community, Cleveland and now Sweetwater.

“This actually feeds the retail section of economic development and the State of Tennessee provides training to community leaders and then coaches people on how to get businesses started,” said Sweetwater City Recorder Jessica Morgan. “We’re listed on the state’s website as Tennessee Smart Start community.”

She, along with another city employee, had undergone training by the state to be able to help people start a new business.

“Cleveland is the only other city in East Tennessee, there is one city in Middle Tennessee and then there is a handful in West Tennessee (that are certified),” she stated. “If someone is looking to start a business in East Tennessee, that is not industrial, then we are listed as one of the resources that they can come to. We can help get them started because we send them to get their business license and help them through all of the different stages that can be overwhelming.”

People who are interested in receiving help to start their own business can contact Sweetwater City Hall for more information.

“They can email us, contact us through Facebook, phone ... However they want to contact us is fine. We can point them to the right resources, so even if it is not something that the city offers or that the city has done we know who we can send them to get them started and streamlining the process of becoming a business,” she said.

Morgan noted that during the training, Sweetwater was specifically called out during by the instructor.

“The thing that we got really excited about is, the girl that was leading the training in Nashville said Sweetwater was always taking advantage of everything Tennessee ECD does,” she recalled. “We are super excited that she called us out and she is right. If the ECD is doing something, we want to be a part of it because they are a great state department ... If they are providing training or helping us get certified in some way then we want to do it.”

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