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Enterprise Academy

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

Apply for Spring St. Cloud Enterprise Academy Cohorts 

The next St. Cloud cohorts will begin in February of 2023. 

Application 

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.  


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 FargoU.S. Bank; the Central Region Small Business Development Center; the North Central Small Business Development Center; the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development; the U.S. Small Business Administration; the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation; and the Neighborhood Development Center
 
Thanks to community partners Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, Central Minnesota Community Empowerment Organization and Higher Works Collaborative

St. Cloud Enterprise Academy Cohort

Enterprise-Academy_Cohort-11_Web.pngSt. Cloud Cohort 11 graduated in Fall 2021. 

Application Now Open for Spring 2023 St. Cloud Cohorts

The St. Cloud cohort of the Enterprise Academy includes presentations from business experts and provides insights and guidance as students work on their individual business plans. Classes are held once per week for 12 weeks and provide instruction in basic business principles and assistance in creating a business plan. Classes are weekly two-hour, in-person sessions for 12 weeks, beginning in February, with one-on-one assistance available. Virtual meetings will be a fallback should public health circumstances change. 

Enterprise Academy Application

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View Class Sessions

Learn more about the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy and cohort. Classes start in February for the St. Cloud cohorts. 

Mille Lacs Enterprise Academy Cohort

EA_Cohort-12_ML-Group-Shot_Web_1.jpgMille Lacs Cohort 10 graduated in Fall 2021. 

The Mille Lacs cohort of the Enterprise Academy includes presentations from business experts and provides insights and guidance as students work on their individual business plans. Classes are held once per week for 12 weeks and provide instruction in basic business principles and assistance in creating a business plan. Classes are weekly two-hour, in-person sessions for 12 weeks, beginning in February, with one-on-one assistance available. Virtual meetings will be a fallback should public health circumstances change. 

Interested in applying for a future Mille Lacs cohort? Complete our interest form. The next Mille Lacs cohort is tentatively planned for Fall 2023. 

To learn more about the criteria for the program, preview the application questions.

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.

View Class Sessions

Connect:

Complete the Interest Form for Small Business Help

Interest Form 

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Ismail Mohamed
Enterprise Academy Program Officer
imohamed(at)ifound.org

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Donniel Robinson
Entrepreneurship Programs Officer
drobinson(at)ifound.org

Jessy Beto

Jessy Beto
Program Specialist
jbeto(at)ifound.org

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Brian Voerding
Vice President for Inclusive Entrepreneurship
bvoerding(at)ifound.org