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Business, Entrepreneurial Resources

The following links provide a starting point for information on various resources available to businesses and entrepreneurs.

Are You an Entrepreneur?

  • Are you an entrepreneur? Check out these 10 traits typical of entrepreneurs.
  • What are the key terms that every social entrepreneur should know? Click here to find out.

Business Planning Services

Will Your Business Work?

 Starting a Business 

 Business Plans

 Technical Assistance

  • African Development Center of Minnesota
    • Once graduated from their workshops, will help develop a business plan
    • Experts in the industries of retail, restaurant and food service, transportation and professional services

Succession Planning

Entrepreneur Peer Groups

Environmental Assistance

Finance Assistance

  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Chemical Response and Reimbursement Account (ACRRA):
    • ACRRA purpose: to reimburse persons for costs incurred after July 1, 1989, in cleaning up agricultural chemical and fertilizer incidents
    • Funding covers up to 80% of the eligible costs between $1,000 and $350,000
  • Minnesota Department of Commerce - Petrofund:
    • Petrofund purpose: contamination-specific reimbursement program
    • Eligible costs: investigation and clean-up of a release from petroleum storage tank, necessary for corrective action with up to 90% of the total eligible clean-up costs up to $1 million
  • Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) - Minnesota Clean-up Revolving Loan Program:
    • Program purpose: loans for the clean-up of contaminated sites and to provide greater opportunities to convert contaminated property into a marketable asset
    • Loan amount and terms vary
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) - Environmental Assistance grants, technical assistance.
  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Voluntary Investigation and Clean-up Program (AgVIC). Purpose: to investigate and clean up parts of a facility which is often done when buying or selling a property, prior to construction on a site, and if a facility wants to expedite cleanup of known or suspected contamination
  • Minnesota Environmental Initiative - Brownfield Redevelopment
    • Program purpose: to achieve brownfields redevelopment through the creation of affordable housing, nonprofit facilities and/or green and open space
    • Services provided: contracting environmental consultants and lawyers, in-kind contributions, fieldwork, lab analysis, project management, and community outreach
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) - Pollution prevention and waste reduction assistance: Provides businesses with resources in recycling in the workplace, environmental purchasing, hazardous waste, mercury in the environment, preventing waste and saving money and using recycled materials as a manufacturing feedstock
  • Minnesota Technical Assistance Program
    • Free technical assistance tailored to your business
    • Helps businesses develop and implement industry-tailored solutions that prevent pollution at the source, maximize efficient use of resources, and reduce energy use and cost to improve public health and the environment


  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) - Environmental permit information
    • The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) works with Minnesota businesses, the Minnesota Legislature and federal officials to ensure that the permitting process helps to protect Minnesota's environment.

 Finance Assistance

Among our many partners are several certified Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs. The certification from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's CDFI Fund signifies that an organization meets stringent federal requirements as a financing entity with a mission to help people in underserved communities join the economic mainstream.

The Initiative Foundation is proud to partner with several fellow CDFI organizations, including the African Development Center, the Latino Economic Development Center, Leech Lake Financial Services and the Neighborhood Development Center.

Initiative Foundation:

    • Direct Business Loan Fund - up to $250,000 for value-added agriculture and manufacturing companies that bring new revenue to communities.
    • Technology Capital Fund - up to $500,000 for emerging high-tech ventures and technologies that increase productivity.
    • Green Business Loan Fund - up to $250,000 for businesses that preserve the environment, reduce energy demands or recycle existing waste streams.
    • Nonprofit Loan Fund - up to $50,000 for the creation or expansion of mission-related earned-income/social enterprise activities carried out by eligible nonprofit organizations. Loan proceeds may be used for working capital, equipment acquisition and/or facility improvements.
    • Lender Match Loan Fund - up to $50,000 for manufacturing, technology, wholesale and other businesses. In partnership with financial institutions, this fund provides crucial capital to minimize the out-of-pocket cash outlay otherwise needed for a down payment on the purchase of equipment or real estate.  
  • United States Small Business Administration (SBA):
    • Provides very small loans to start-up, newly established, or growing small business
    • Maximum loan amount is $35,000; average loan is $13,000 
    • Gap Financing
  • African Development Center: Loans of up to $25,000 to qualified entrepreneurs 
  • Agricultural Utilization Research Institution - Distribution Enhancement Program: 
    • Limited funding to an active AURI projects
    • Financing for market and promotion samples
    • Grant amount varies 
  •  Agricultural Utilization Research Institution - Product Development Program:
    • Focuses on developing a salable product, process or production technology to enhance a feasible product 
    • Available to applicants who can demonstrate the project will impact the use of an existing agricultural commodity, alternative crops or livestock. 
    • Grant amount varies 
  • East Central Energy:
    • Business must be located in the East Central Energy territory
    • Financing for land and building acquisition; land improvements; new building construction; building renovation; machinery and equipment; inventory purchase and working capital
    • Investment amounts vary 
  • Latino Economic Development Center of MinnesotaGrows Minnesota businesses through orientations, classes, business development consulting, technical assistance, and access to capital for new and existing entrepreneurs
  • Minnesota SBIR/STTR: MN-SBIR helps technology-based entrepreneurs and innovators successfully access federal funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. 
  • Tri-CAP FAIM Program:
    • Program assists low-income working adults save money for a small business
    • All money saved is matched at a 3:1 ratio
    • Participants save up to $960 over two years and receive $3,840 towards their asset of choice 
  • First Children’s Finance Loan Fund:
    • Loans for child care and early education providers that improve the quality, accessibility and sustainability of their businesses
    • Financing to help expand or start child care and early education businesses; improve the quality of facilities; purchase supplies and equipment; fulfill licensing requirements
    • $1,000- $125,000 per investment 
  • Great River Energy:
    • Eligible applicants must receive electrical service from a Great River Energy member system rural electric cooperative
    • Financing for land and building acquisition; land improvements; new building construction; building renovation; machinery and equipment and working capital
    • Loan amount varies 
  • Minnesota Business Finance Corporation (MBFC) - SBA 504 loan:
    • Low, fixed-rate, long-term loans for capital improvements
    • Financing for land, equipment and buildings 
  • United States Small Business Administration (SBA) - Financing Programs:
    • A variety of financing options for small businesses
    • SBA does not make direct loans but they do guarantee loans made by banks and private lenders
    • Guarantee amounts vary 
  • USDA - Rural Development - Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program:
    • Guarantee up to 80% of bank loans to businesses in rural areas (populations with less than 50,000 people)
    • Sound business proposals with loan limits of $25 million and a minimum of 10% equity for existing businesses
    • Maximum of $25 million per investment 
    • Venture Capital
  • Gaebler VenturesA list of venture capital firms in Minnesota 
  • Granite Equity Partners:
    • Target companies will most likely have $5-$75 million of trailing revenue and $1-$5 million of EBITDA.
    • Finances buyouts, recapitalizations, and business expansions for established, profitable businesses. Does not invest in startup companies
    • Buyout preferences in manufacturing, service companies, media and communications distribution and agriculture 
  • Minnesota Venture Capital AssociationA list of members whose primary activity is the management of venture capital funds and investments 
  • RAIN Source Capital:
    • Organization works with angel investors who are interested in supporting growing companies
    • RAIN funds range in size from seven to 61 members, who have pooled anywhere from $500,000 to $2 million 

International Trade

  • Minnesota Trade Offices
    • The Minnesota Trade Office (MTO) promotes and assists in the expansion of exports and foreign direct investments that contribute to the growth of the Minnesota economy
    • Services are tailored for new exporters as well as experienced international companies, and include education and training, information and marketing, and counseling
  • United States Commercial Service
    • The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion unit of the International Trade Administration. U.S. Commercial Service trade specialists in 107 U.S. cities and in more than 80 countries work with your company to help you get started in exporting or increase your sales to new global markets. Our services include:
    • World class market research
    • Trade events that promote your product or service to qualified buyers
    • Introductions to qualified buyers and distributors
    • Counseling and advocacy through every step of the export process


Product Development Services


Higher Education Resources

Offering technology training for your business needs:

Workforce Recruitment and Training





Jeff Wig
Vice President for Entrepreneurship

(320) 631-2006


 Don Hickman
Vice President for Community
 Workforce Development
(320) 631-2043

Dan Bullert

Daniel Bullert
Business Finance Manager
(320) 631-2013