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Initiative Quarterly

Loan Helps Enterprise Graduate Expand Business

February 28, 2019

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Hussein Farah, owner/operator of 33rd Meat & Grocery, St. Cloud, is adding a deli to his operation.

Hussein Farah has a grand plan for Thirty-Third Meat & Grocery, a full-service store he’s operated adjacent to the Electrolux plant in North St. Cloud for more than a decade.

After completing a 12-week entrepreneurial course, the centerpiece of the Initiative Foundation’s Enterprise Academy program, Farah is embarking on the next step in his business journey. Through a culturally adapted loan from the Initiative Foundation, a first of its kind through the Enterprise Academy program, Farah has secured top-of-the-line, restaurant-grade kitchen equipment to open Horseed Deli within his store. (Loosely translated, Horseed means “Pioneer.”)

The move comes as Farah anticipates the shuttering at year’s end of the Electrolux plant at 701 33rd Ave. N., St. Cloud.

A longtime fixture on St. Cloud’s north side, Electrolux employs about 900 workers who produce Frigidaire upright freezers. For years those workers have provided a steady stream of walk-in traffic through the doors of Farah’s business. As the plant winds down its production—and the foot traffic along with it—Farah decided the time was right to increase the commercial appeal of his store and its offerings.

“The Initiative Foundation really helped him,” said Mohamed Dalal, Farah’s stepson. “He’s had this idea for a while now. The Foundation just gave him the energy and insights he needed to get this across the finish line.”

The Enterprise Academy follows the Entrepreneur Development Model pioneered by the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) and its Build From Within Alliance. It provides training, lending and one-one-one advising services to start and grow vital small businesses. Major funding to support the Enterprise Academy comes from Wells Fargo and its Diverse Community Capital Program.

“The work that the Initiative Foundation is doing through the Enterprise Academy and the creation of culturally appropriate financing is really going to make a difference in the St. Cloud community,” said Hudda Ibrahim, CEO of Filsan Talent Partners, which has provided cultural competency training to more than 5,000 people in the region since launching her consulting business more than two years ago. Ibrahim also is a graduate of the Foundation’s Initiators Fellowship program. “With access to training, mentoring and now financing, St. Cloud’s East African community can now grow their businesses, and they will then invest that money back into the community. That’s really important.”

Farah is among the nearly two dozen East African entrepreneurs who have graduated from the Enterprise Academy since its launch in early 2018. The program is designed to support small businesses and startup ventures within communities of people who often have limited access to financing and business development tools. The first of several cohorts have focused on St. Cloud’s East African population with the long-range goal of expanding the program to other communities of need in Central Minnesota as funding becomes available.

The Enterprise Academy is supported locally by the Central Minnesota Community Foundation and the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation. Additional partners and funders include the Neighborhood Development Center, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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