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Initiative Quarterly Magazine
Initiative Quarterly

Business Financing


Matt Schiller and Jeff Zierdt are co-founders of Lupulin Brewing ( in Big Lake, an Initiative Foundation loan client. Read their business story.

The Initiative Foundation works to create economic opportunity by lending funds to locally owned businesses.

The Foundation’s business loans work to strengthen communities and diversify local economies. In partnership with other lenders, the Initiative Foundation offers loans to entrepreneurs who ...

  • wish to start or expand a locally owned business
  • have a sound business plan and acceptable credit
  • create quality jobs with living wages and benefits
  • advance local and regional goals for target industries.

CDFI Fund CertificationThe Initiative Foundation is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution, or CDFI. The certification from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund signifies that the Foundation meets stringent requirements as a financing entity with a primary mission of promoting community development.

Learn more about our CDFI partnerships that are helping to drive change in the region.

A Diversity of Financing Programs

The Initiative Foundation offers the following business financing programs to meet diverse regional needs:

  • Business Loan Fund: Up to $500,000 for value-added agriculture and manufacturing companies that bring new revenue to communities. Business Finance Fact Sheet
  • Nonprofit Loan Fund: Up to $100,000 for the creation or expansion of mission-related earned-income/social enterprise activities carried out by eligible nonprofit organizations. Loan proceeds may be used for working capital, equipment acquisition and/or facility improvements. Nonprofit Fact Sheet
  • Lender Match Loan Fund: Up to $100,000 for manufacturing, technology, wholesale and other businesses. In partnership with financial institutions, this fund provides crucial capital to minimize the out-of-pocket cash outlay otherwise needed for a down payment on the purchase of equipment or real estate. Lender Match Fact Sheet

Nontraditional business owners such as women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply. Business loans are competitive and subject to review by staff and a volunteer committee. Loans may require 90 days to review and close based on complexity and documentation.

How to Apply

After reviewing the above loan guidelines, please email Dan Bullert, dbullert(at)ifound.orgor call toll-free (877) 632-9255. This is your first step to securing a loan through the Initiative Foundation.

Initiative Foundation loans are seldom more than 50 percent of a total financing package. Terms require a personal guaranty.

Recent Loans

Hussein_Farah_Low_Res.jpgHussein Farah, owner/operator of 33rd Meat & Grocery, St. Cloud, is adding a deli to his operation. Read his business story.

To learn more about the Business Finance Program, please contact Dan Bullert, business finance manager, dbullert(at) or (320) 631-2013. 

2019 First Quarter Loans: $427,500

  • Tri-Axis Enterprises, LLC, Brainerd*
  • Aaron's Total Car Care LLC, Mora
  • Battery Wholesale Inc., St. Joseph
  • Lake Superior Laundry, Inc., Pine City
  • Horseed Deli Inc., St. Cloud
  • Legacy Place, LLC, St. Cloud 

* Denotes Brainerd Unified Fund Loan servicing  



Dan Bullert

Daniel Bullert
Business Finance Manager
(320) 631-2013


Carie Verley
Finance Assistant
(320) 631-2010


Jeff Wig
Vice President for Entrepreneurship 

(320) 631-2006

Loan Stories

Read about some of our loan projects from around the region.

Regional Impact

In addition to its certification by the United States Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), the Initiative Foundation is certified by the Small Business Administration as a Community Advantage lender and is also a proud member of the Opportunity Finance Network. View our Impact Update for a historic snapshot of business finance activity.