This past month, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced twenty-three non-profit lending partners who will participate in a new, state-wide grant program to increase Minnesotan business growth. The selected non-profits have a strong record of assisting historically disadvantaged groups in Minnesota.
This new lending program, called the Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Program (MEEP), will distribute a $2 million loan pool through the non-profit lenders to business communities within the state that typically have difficulties accessing to capital. The participating non-profits can issue loans between $5,000 to $150,000 to small businesses that are majority owned and operated by minorities, low-income persons, women, veterans, and/or persons with disabilities. All loans will be approved by DEED; the repaid monies will be return to a revolving loan fund.
MEEP is an extension of Urban Initiative Loan Program (UILP), which provides funding to low-income communities located with the Minneapolis/St. Paul vicinity.
Two southeastern Minnesota based non-profits were selected as lending partners for this state-wide Emerging Entrepreneur Program. Chatfield-based Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) received $60,000 of funds to loan to qualified small businesses. CEDA provides business assistance and micro-lending primarily in southeastern Minnesota, including the communities of Stewartville, Chatfield, Byron, Eyota, and Saint Charles. Owatonna-based Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) received $50,000 of loan funding through the program. SMIF provides grants, loans, and other business services to twenty southern Minnesotan counties.
The Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers, The Entrepreneur Fund, African Development Center of Minnesota, Center Minnesota Development Company, Neighborhood Development Center, WomenVenture, Metropolitan Economic Development Association, Latino Economic Development Center, First Children’s Finance, Southwest Initiative Foundation, Hmong American Partnership, Initiative Foundation, Northland Foundation, North Central Economic Development Association, Northside Economic Opportunity Network, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Worthington Regional Economic Development Corporation, 4-Directions Development, African Economic Development Solutions, Greater Bemidji, and Immigrant Development Center also received loan funding.