Business coaching available for minority-owned businesses

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation is recruiting new minority-owned business leaders for a new cohort of its Prosperity Initiative.

According to the US Census Bureau, 29 percent of Minnesota’s population in 2040 will be people of color, an increase from only 4 percent in 1980.

In response to this rapid growth, The Prosperity Initiative was designed as a SMIF pilot project to provide education and business resources to minority business owners and educate resource partners of the barriers and opportunities these individuals encounter.

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According to a press release, SMIF is still seeking five new businesses to participate in the Prosperity Initiative. The program provides directed, culturally sensitive programing, while also creating a unified and coordinated resource structure, informing partners of best practices and creating opportunities for minority populations to network and access the business community. All resources are free for participating businesses. Eligible participants include minorities, women, veterans, persons with disabilities and/or low-income business owners in SMIF’s 20-county region.

This new cohort, which will provide 10 businesses with one-on-one business coaching, is made possible by generous funding from The McKnight Foundation, CliftonLarsonAllen Foundation, and Fred and Shelley Krahmer. Only three spots remain for businesses that must be located in the Mankato area. Only existing businesses are eligible to apply and eligible participants include immigrant, refugee or minority-owned businesses, particularly those for whom English is a second language.

The program started as a pilot in 2016 with a grant from Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.

In the first two years, the Prosperity Initiative provided 27 clients with one-on-one business coaching across more than 1,500 hours of direct consulting. SMIF is using feedback from a participant evaluation to make the program even stronger going forward.

“My coach really helped me through a period of bad burnout,” said one client surveyed. “I gained the motivation to make the changes in my business that I needed to. My coach really helped me with negotiating boundaries, clarifying purpose and addressing difficult client relationships.”

To learn more about how to become a business, or to nominate a business owner, contact Pam Bishop at or 507-214-7013. You can also visit