Good news for small business in Tennessee! If you are having trouble with State unemployment taxes, business licences, who to contact to get your business going or who to deal with regarding business issues as they relate to the State of Tennessee, the State now has an Office of Small Business Advocate. Established by legislation in 2010, the Office of Small Business Advocate serves as a point of contact to state government for Tennesseans who are starting a business or who already own a business.

The Goals of the Small Business Advocate are to:

  • Serve as a guide for small business owners to state government
  • Advocate on behalf of small business owners to the Executive Branch
  • Become another voice for small business owners in the legislative process

The State defines small business as a business entity, including all affiliates, that employ 50 or fewer full time employees. The duties of the advocate include answering all questions and providing information to Tennesseans starting a small business or who already own a business. It duties also include informally acting as a mediator and assisting with the resolution of issues concerning small business owners and state departments and agencies. Duties also include working with each state agency and department to ensure that small business owners who receive enforcement related communications or contact by an agency or department are provided with a means to communicate or comment. The advocate will also receive comments from small business owners regarding actions by agency or department employees conducting compliance or enforcement activities. The advocate will also refer comments from small business owners to the affected agency or department.

The Advocates office noted that the identity of all small business owner communications with the Advocate will remain confidential until it becomes necessary to divulge their information to resolve their issue.  The Office also noted that it is responsible for rating each agency or department on their efforts to notify small business owners about the Advocate’s Office.

In order to assist the Advocate, each agency or department with regulatory authority over a business is required to appoint an individual to serve as a contact person for the Advocate’s office.

According to the small business Advocate, small business owners should not have to waste their valuable time figuring out the who, what, where, when and why of State government.

To contact the Office of Small Business Advocate, contact:

Lauren Plunk
505 Deaderick St, Suite 1700
James K Polk Building
Nashville, TN 37243-1402
615-401-7806  or  866-831-3750
smallbusiness.advocate@tn.gov