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Announcing $97 Million in Small Business Financial Support



By: Commissioner Steve Grove

Last Friday, Governor Tim Walz and I announced nearly $100 million in new funding to support small businesses through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) at Flava Café in St. Paul. We were joined by Damon Jenkins, Senior Vice President and Twin Cities Regional Market President of First Independence Bank; Lachelle Cunningham, Board Co-Chair of the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) and Chelles Kitchen owner; Shaunie Grigsby, Founder and CEO of Flava Café; and Myron Frans, University of Minnesota Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations.

At DEED, we have heard from hundreds of Minnesota businessowners about how to make it easier to start a small business. One hurdle that comes up often is a persistent gap in funding for businesses that are just getting started. We took this feedback and identified six new funding streams to help fill the gaps facing small businessowners. 

Now, help is on the way. The federal government has approved Minnesota for $97.5 million in small business funding through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).

“Neighborhood entrepreneurs have great and beneficial ideas, and they want to invest in their communities with their businesses,” Cunningham said at Friday’s event. “In turn, we need to invest in them with access to services and resources such as the Small Business Loan Participation program. NDC is excited to see local entrepreneurs receive a new resource to support their businesses.”

Based on research and dozens of listening sessions with stakeholders over the last year, DEED is committed to addressing significant market gaps in financing with this funding. Before the end of 2022, the agency will launch six Treasury-approved programs under the new initiative to benefit small businesses. In most cases, businesses will access funding through approved lenders or other external financial institutions. 

“I’ve had numerous conversations with business owners across the state and a common theme I’ve heard is, ‘show me the money, where’s the access to capital.’ I’m excited and fortunate to be part of this partnership because this is a reflection that we heard you, we’re listening,” Jenkins said. “We’re part of this ecosystem that will bring resources and capital, to allow the businesses owners to grow, to scale, and put them on the path to success and to be here for the long term. It also provides us additional reach and to be a part of the community solution and make business owners that we serve, better. I’m committed to continuing the conversations with the business owners and inquiring about how we can continue to make this better and ensuring that they have access to the resources.”

The other small business funding streams launching in the weeks and months ahead include loans to early stage technologically innovative businesses, automation loans and purchase loan participations. In addition, a partnership with the University of Minnesota will provide opportunities for direct investment venture capital and venture capital fund investments.

“Entrepreneurs, especially women and BIPOC entrepreneurs, need access to capital and resources that are right for them and their businesses. Through community support, the Neighborhood Development Center, and programs such as these, I’ve had the opportunity to start and develop my business into what it is today,” Grigsby said at Friday’s event.

The Walz-Flanagan Administration is deeply committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed in Minnesota.  That’s why we’re also unveiling our new online Small Business Hub to help entrepreneurs start and grow their small businesses. The Hub provides details on our upcoming SSBCI programs, as well as resources and expertise for small business owners looking to launch in Minnesota.

The new Hub can be found at joinusmn.com/smallbusiness.

Small business is who we are as an economy, and these new funding streams are critical to bolstering small businesses and helping our economy thrive and become more equitable for all.

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