A 12-week educational course is at the heart of the Enterprise Academy program.
Building Local Economies From Within
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.
Aspiring entrepreneurs learn from business experts as they create their own individual business plan. Classes are 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 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.
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.
The Enterprise Academy program is part of the Build from Within Alliance, an association of organizations from across the United States who are implementing a similar comprehensive program of support for entrepreneurs.
The nine Cohort 2 graduates completed the course and graduated during a Dec. 20, 2018, program at the offices of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation.
Enterprise Academy Graduates
Read the biographies of cohort graduates.