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The Enterprise Academy

Enterprise Academy

Building Local Economies From Within

The Initiative Foundation believes in the drive and daring of local entrepreneurs to transform their lives and revitalize their neighborhoods. The Enterprise Academy, following the Entrepreneur Development Model pioneered by the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) and its Build From Within Alliance, provides training, lending and one-one-one advising services to start and grow vital small businesses.

Outcomes include ...

  • Job creation
  • Providing unique goods and services to the local economy
  • Revitalization of communities and vacant properties
  • Developing and lifting up community role models
  • Strengthening and broadening the economic fabric of communities.

Entrepreneur Training

Aspiring entrepreneurs learn from business experts as they create their own individual business plan. Classes are one evening held once per week for 12 weeks and feature training specifically tailored to each group, with one-on-one assistance available to help each participant create a realistic business plan roadmap.

Small Business Lending

The Enterprise Academy lending provides access to credit for businesses who may not be able to access traditional sources of capital, including culturally tailored lending.

Business Services & Technical Assistance

During the critical startup and expansion period, the Enterprise Academy provides one-on-one consulting in management, branding, legal aspects of business, and more.

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Support for the Enterprise Academy is made possible by grants from Wells Fargo, the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development



Abdirizak Jama
Program Specialist for Enterprise Academy


Laura Larson
Program Associate for Entrepreneurship
(320) 631-2064


Jeff Wig
Vice President for Entrepreneurship

(320) 631-2006