SMIF receives $50,000 allocation from DEED

Published 10:00 am Thursday, February 9, 2017

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation recently received a $50,000 allocation from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development through the state’s new Emerging Entrepreneurs Loan Program. The money will be used to provide loans to businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, persons with disabilities and/or low-income individuals in SMIF’s 20-county region.

SMIF is a qualified EELP lender and was one of 23 nonprofit organizations receiving an allocation from DEED. A total of $2 million was awarded throughout the state, which is part of the state’s $35 million investment plan to help reduce economic and racial disparities throughout Minnesota. This is SMIF’s third major DEED allocation; SMIF received $200,000 to launch The Prosperity Initiative, a program to build capacity for minority-owned businesses in southern Minnesota, and $357,000 for its general loan pool.

“The Emerging Entrepreneurs Loan Program is one more way that SMIF is able to help people who typically couldn’t get bank financing,” SMIF President and CEO Tim Penny said. “We are able to assist business owners who may not have typical collateral or the best credit score, but if they have demonstrated the ability to work hard, think creatively and overcome obstacles, we believe they will make successful business owners.”

Email newsletter signup

According to a press release, SMIF averages $1.5 million in loans and equity investments to 20-30 businesses in its region annually. The EELP allocation will be used towards loans made through SMIF’s many loan pools, including local food, small enterprise, family child care businesses, and others. DEED has final approval of all EELP loans made. SMIF is able to make Sharia-compliant loans.

“With this funding, more Minnesotans will have the opportunity to grow businesses across our state, supporting good jobs and strong local economies,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in the statement. “We must continue working to expand economic opportunities for communities of color, women, veterans, and people with disabilities across our state, to build a better Minnesota for everyone.”

This program replaces Minnesota’s Urban Initiative, which had served low-income communities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. An additional $750,000 will be put into the State’s EELP fund annually, with funds required to be dispersed 50/50 to metro and outstate counties.

“These loans will help Minnesotans from communities that have historically struggled to access capital get the resources they need to start or grow businesses,” Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said in the statement. “Expanding economic opportunities for communities of color, women, veterans, and people with disabilities is essential to building an economy that works for everyone, everywhere in Minnesota.”

For more information on SMIF’s Emerging Entrepreneurs Loan Program, contact Marcia Haley at or 507-455-3215.