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Enterprise Academy

Enterprise Academy Cohort 5 Class

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

Building Local Economies From Within

Enterprise Academy Logo

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 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.  

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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, the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Brainerd Cohort Gets Under Way Sept. 15

The Brainerd cohort of the Enterprise Academy will include presentations from business experts and work on individual business plans. Classes are held once per week for 12 weeks and feature training specifically tailored to each student, with one-on-one assistance available to help create a realistic business plan.

Legacy Business Districts

Brainerd Legacy Business Districts

The Brainerd cohort of the Enterprise Academy will focus on individuals who are interested in creating or expanding visible businesses in Brainerd’s River-to-Rail corridor and, secondarily, Brainerd’s other legacy commercial districts.

Click to View Poster (PDF)

Enterprise Poster Brainerd Cohort

River-to-Rail Corridor

Brainerd_River-to-Rails Map

View Class Sessions


This cohort of the Initiative Foundation’s Enterprise Academy is supported through partnerships with the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, the Brainerd Destination Downtown business coalition and a host of Brainerd area businesses and organizations, including Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures.

New St. Cloud Cohort Gets Under Way Sept. 19

The St. Cloud cohort of the Enterprise Academy will include presentations from business experts and work on individual business plans. Classes are held once per week for 12 weeks and feature training specifically tailored to each student, with one-on-one assistance available to help create a realistic business plan.

 This 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 is based on the Entrepreneur Development Model, a program of the Neighborhood Development Center’s Build From Within Alliance. Primary support for the Enterprise Academy is made possible by a grant from Wells Fargo and its Diverse Community Capital program. Additional grant support is provided by the Central Minnesota Community Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Click to View Poster (PDF)Enterprise Poster STC Cohort 6

View Class Sessions

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Spring 2021 Class Planned for Mille Lacs Area

Are you interested in participating in a spring 2021 Enterprise Academy class for the Mille Lacs area? Share a little information about yourself and we'll reach out to you when the application becomes active and available.

Spring 2021 Mille Lacs Class


Connect:

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Abdi Daisane
Enterprise Academy Program Officer
adaisane(at)ifound.org
(320) 207-4888

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Hannah Mayhew
Enterprise Academy Intern
eaintern(at)ifound.org
(320) 270-6019

Jessy Beto

Jessy Beto
Program Specialist
jbeto(at)ifound.org
(320) 631-2057

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Jeff Wig
Vice President for Entrepreneurship
jwig(at)ifound.org

(320) 631-2006

Enterprise Academy Graduates 

Read the biographies of cohort graduates.