Matt Schiller and Jeff Zierdt are co-founders of Lupulin Brewing (lupulinbrewing.com) 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.
The 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 or 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.
Hussein 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, at or (320) 631-2013.
To date, the Initiative Foundation has processed 55 loans for Central Minnesota businesses as part of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's (DEED) Small Business Emergency Loan Program. The loans resulted in $1.2 mllion in regional economic stimulation.
2020 First Quarter Loans: $932,000
- Honest Office Cleaning, St. Joseph—Honest Office Cleaning is a carpet cleaning business.
- Hali-Brite, Ironton—Hali-Brite is a manufacturer and distributor of airfield lighting and equipment.
- Karlsburger Foods, Monticello—Karlsburger Foods is a manufacturer of various soup bases and numerous seasonings.
- Rotz Septic and Excavating, Elk River—Rotz Septic and Excavating specializes in the pumping, cleaning, and repairing of septic and holding tanks serving the northern metro area including Elk River, Otsego and the surrounding areas.
2019 Fourth Quarter Loans: $125,000
- Summit Health Partners, Sauk Rapids—Summit Health Partners, LLC opened Wildwood Assisted Living in the spring of 2017. The facility can accommodate 30 patients, consisting of 24 one-bedroom studio units and 3 double bedroom units.
- El Tequila Autentico Mexican Restaurant, Baxter—El Tequila Mexican Restaurant was established by Pedro Unzueta Villanueva in 2008, and is well known in the Brainerd lakes area. The restaurant serves fresh authentic Mexican food for lunch and dinner. They have purchased the former Olive Garden building.
As a result of these loans, $1.86 million in private financing was leveraged through other lending institutions.
2019 Third Quarter Loans: $1.3 Million
- Barrett Petfood Innovations, Little Falls—Barrett Petfood Innovations is a full‐line pet food manufacturer specializing in co‐packaging super premium animal feed and pet food for domestic and multinational brands.
- Brown's Produce, Long Prairie—Browns Produce operates a facility that grades, packages and stores vegetables. Our involvement would finance costs associated with the recent construction of real estate.
- Collyard Chiropractic and Professional Karate Studios, Elk River—Collyard Chiropractic provides chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, acupuncture, essential oils and nutritional supplements. Professional Karate Studios is a full-time martial arts school and provides physical fitness, self-esteem and practical self-defense classes for families and children.
- LJ Level Construction, Isanti—LJ Level Construction is a residential and light commercial general contractor.
- Renters Warehouse, Sauk Rapids—Renters Warehouse provides property management services to people who own investment property or are unable to sell their home in a timely manner.
- Baby's on Broadway LLC, Little Falls—Baby’s on Broadway is a specialty baby boutique started by Adelle Starin in 2014. In 2017, Baby’s on Broadway purchased the assets of the Gumdrop
Tree, a children’s toy store that was going out of business, to add to its product line.
- Distinctive Iron, Elk River—Distinctive Iron is a designer, fabricator and installer of structural and miscellaneous metals.
- Mako Store, St. Cloud—Mako Store is a fashion and beauty store located at 108 East St. Germain, St. Cloud. Fartun designs a modest and culturally inclusive clothing line for both men and women.
- Gustaf’s Up North Gallery, Lindstrom—Gustaf's Up North Gallery sells an array of fine art and hand-crafted items from artists in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. The company also sells home décor and gift items, many of which are imported from Scandinavian countries. The company also provides professional framing and interior design services.
- Boone's Market, Randall—Boone’s Market is now open to replace Gosch's Grocery that closed in September 2018 after having been in operation for many years.This is the only grocery store in Randall.
- Krewe Restaurant, St. Joseph—Krew Restaurant is expanding the restaurant and bakery to St. Joseph.
As a result of these loans, $23.5 million in private financing was leveraged through other lending institutions.
2019 Second Quarter Loans: $333,250
- J&M Transport, LLC, Sauk Rapids—J&M Transport is a trucking company that will transport freight all over the United States.
- Jill's Cafe, Richmond—Jill's Cafe is a restaurant in Richmond offering home cooking and fresh-baked pies.
- Aaron's Total Car Care, LLC, Mora—Aaron's Total Car Care, LLC, is a start-up business that will provide automotive maintenance and repair services.
- Bogart, Pederson & Associates, Inc., Becker—Bogart, Pederson & Associates, Inc., is a land surveying and civil engineering firm.
- Little Fiesta, Little Falls—Little Fiesta is a Mexican restaurant located near Highway 10 in Little Falls.
2019 First Quarter Loans: $250,000
- Lake Superior Laundry, Inc., Pine City—Lake Superior Laundry, Inc., provides laundry services to the healthcare and hospitality industries in Minnesota, parts of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
- Horseed Deli Inc., St. Cloud—Horseed Deli Inc., is a grocery store which will be expanded to a deli.
- Legacy Place, LLC, Sauk Rapids—Legacy Place, LLC, operates an eight-unit specialized assisted living facility in Sauk Rapids.
- Battery Wholesale, St. Joseph—Battery Wholesale, sells refurbished and new batteries for vehicles, boats and power tools. There are retail locations in St. Joseph, Willmar and Bemidji.
As a result of these loans, $1.4 million in private financing was leveraged through other lending institutions.
Brainerd Unified Fund Loan Servicing:
The Unified Fund is a revolving loan fund of the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation. The fund supports Crow Wing County business development and was created in 2017-2018 by pooling several million dollars worth of grants and other available city, county and utility resources. The Initiative Foundation partners with BLAEDC by servicing Unified Fund loans.
- Paradigm Automotive & Performance, Brainerd—Paradigm Automotive & Performance is full-service automotive repair, performance and speed shop.
- Victual, Crosby—Victual is a boutique-style, gourmet food retail store that specializes in lactose-free ice cream in Crosby.
Read about some of our loan projects from around the region.
- Succession Successes
- East Central Veterinarians (Video)
- Jill's Cafe, Richmond, Minn. (Video)
- El Tequila, Brainerd, Printed in Brainerd Dispatch
- Succession Success, Cambridge
- Lupulin Brewery, Big Lake
- Loan Helps Enterprise Academy Graduate Expand Business, St. Cloud
- Cowgirl Tuff, Cokato
- Bringing it All Together, Brainerd
- Milk and Honey Ciders, St. Joseph
- Glenn Metalcraft, Princeton
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.