Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Office of Small Business Advocate?

The Small Business Advocate is part of the Comptroller of the Treasury and was established to make state government more responsive to Tennessee’s small businesses. It is the office Tennessee’s small business owners can contact when they have questions about what department they need to speak with in state government or if they are experiencing difficulties working with a state department or agency.

What is a small business?

The Office of Small Business Advocate was established to serve those business owners with fifty (50) or fewer employees.

What can the Small Business Advocate do for me?

The Small Business Advocate can answer questions or provide information about owning and operating a small business in Tennessee. Additionally, the Advocate’s job is to act as an informal mediator to resolve issues between small business owners and state government.

When should a small business owner contact the Office of Small Business Advocate?

If you do not know who to see, or what procedure to use, contact the office. The Small Business Advocate can point you to the right person and explain the best way to go about solving your problem.

If you have attempted to resolve an issue with the department or agency and are unable to reach a solution or you are having difficulties navigating state government generally, contact the Small Business Advocate.

What happens when I ask the Office of Small Business Advocate for assistance?

When the office is contacted, the Small Business Advocate will speak with the small business owner to discuss the issue in more detail. After all of the facts have been gathered, the Small Business Advocate will contact an individual in the appropriate department or agency to begin the process of resolving the small business owner’s issue. Usually, that individual will then work within their department to get the issue resolved in as timely manner as possible. During this period, the Small Business Advocate will keep the small business owner informed and continue to follow-up with the department until a solution is reached.

What if I don’t feel comfortable sharing my identification with the department or agency?

The Small Business Advocate has the authority to maintain the confidentiality of the small business owner. Depending upon your particular issue, sharing your identification may be part of finding the best solution. The Small Business Advocate will ask if you are comfortable sharing your identity before contacting a department or agency.

Who does the Office of Small Business contact within a department or agency to resolve an issue?

The law requires Commissioners and agency heads of departments or agencies with regulatory authority over small business to appoint an employee to serve as the Office of Small Business Advocate’s point of contact. A complete list of these individuals can be found by clicking HERE.