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Enterprise Academy

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A 12-week educational course is at the heart of the Enterprise Academy program.

Meet our Spring 2022 Graduates

Entrepreneurs from Mille Lacs and St. Cloud are pursuing business ideas ranging from a car dealership and mental health and substance abuse recovery practice to a retail store selling native art. Learn more about the graduates! 

 Mille Lacs

 St. Cloud

Complete Interest Form for Future Cohort Consideration

To indicate your interest in a future cohort of the Enterprise Academy, complete our Enterprise Academy Interest Form. To determine if this entrepreneurial startup program is right for you, preview the application/eligibility questions.

The next cohorts will begin in fall 2022. 

 

Hear graduate Ekram Elmoge discuss the benefits of the Enterprise Academy program. 

About the Enterprise Academy Program

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The Initiative Foundation believes in the drive and daring of local entrepreneurs to transform their lives and contribute to the revitalization of their communities. 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 ...

  • Providing unique goods and services to the local economy
  • Revitalization of communities and vacant properties
  • Developing and lifting up community role models
  • Strengthening local economies
  • Broadening participation in the American dream.

Entrepreneur Training 

 Aspiring entrepreneurs learn from business experts as they create their own individual business plan. Classes are once per week for 12 weeks and feature instruction in basic business principles and assistance in creating a business plan. 

Small Business Lending

The Enterprise Academy is supported by a lending program and provides access to credit for businesses owners who may not be able to access traditional sources of capital, including culturally tailored lending. Direct loans are possible in amounts up to $50,000 for successful graduates of our Enterprise Academy Entrepreneur Training Class or to our Business Services and Technical Assistance clients who create a realistic and robust business plan. Enterprise Academy program borrowers may also be able to access larger loan amounts through our traditional gap lending program, which requires a lead lender such as a bank or credit union.

Business Services & Technical Assistance

Expert consultants provide one-on-one technical assistance services in areas such as recordkeeping, accounting, marketing and branding, web development, social media marketing and legal aspects of business. These services are available to qualifying existing businesses for a reduced fee.  

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The Enterprise Academy program is part of the Build from Within Alliance, an association of organizations from across the United States that are implementing a similar comprehensive program of support for entrepreneurs. Support for the Enterprise Academy is made possible by grants from Wells Fargo, Otto Bremer Trust, U.S. Bank, the Small Business Development Center, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development; the U.S. Small Business Administration; the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the Neighborhood Development Center

St. Cloud Enterprise Academy Cohort

Enterprise-Academy_Cohort-11_STC_Group-shot_Outdoors-web.pngSt. Cloud Cohort 11 graduated in Fall 2021. 

Interested in applying for a future St. Cloud cohort? Complete our Enterprise Academy Interest Form and we'll contact you when a new cohort is being planned. To learn more about the criteria for the program, preview the application questions.

The next St. Cloud cohort will begin in fall 2022. 


 The St. Cloud cohort is supported through partnerships with the Central Minnesota Community Empowerment Organization (CMCEO) and Higher Works Collaborative, an affiliate program of Higher Ground Church of God in Christ, Waite Park.
 
The Enterprise Academy program is part of the Build from Within Alliance, an association of organizations from across the United States that are implementing a similar comprehensive program of support for entrepreneurs. Support for the Enterprise Academy is made possible by grants from Wells Fargo, Otto Bremer Trust, U.S. Bank, the Small Business Development Center, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development; the U.S. Small Business Administration; the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the Neighborhood Development Center

View Class Sessions

Mille Lacs Enterprise Academy Cohort

Enterprise-Academy_Cohort-10_ML_Group-shot-web.pngMille Lacs Cohort 10 graduated in Fall 2021. 

Interested in applying for a future Mille Lacs cohort? Complete our Enterprise Academy Interest Form and we'll contact you when a new cohort is being planned. To learn more about the criteria for the program, preview the application questions.

The next Mille Lacs cohort will begin in fall 2022. 

Mille Lacs Tribal Economy Census Tracts
Priority for training class admission will be given to those who wish to open a business in one of the above census tracts.

The Mille Lacs cohort is made possible through a partnership with Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures in support of entrepreneurship in the wider Mille Lacs tribal economy, including six census tracts and the communities of Isle, Onamia, Wakhon, Hinkley and McGregor. For more information, visit our frequently asked questions.
 
The Enterprise Academy program is part of the Build from Within Alliance, an association of organizations from across the United States that are implementing a similar comprehensive program of support for entrepreneurs. Support for the Enterprise Academy is made possible by grants from Wells Fargo, Otto Bremer Trust, U.S. Bank, the Small Business Development Center, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development; the U.S. Small Business Administration; the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the Neighborhood Development Center

View Class Sessions