SMIF seeking initiative applications

Published 9:04 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, in partnership with Region Nine Development Commission and Faribault Diversity Coalition, is recruiting minority-owned business owners for a new cohort of its Prosperity Initiative.

SMIF is seeking 15 businesses to participate in a 2020 Prosperity Initiative cohort. Past Prosperity Initiative graduates are also encouraged to apply to be part of this program again and take their business to a new level. 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.

SMIF will a business plan workshop from noon to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 15 to help individuals create a business plan for their company. Those interested in the Prosperity Initiative are encouraged to attend so they have a well-developed business plan to include in their application. If interested in attending, RSVP to Jennifer Heien, grants coordinator, at or 507-214-7040 by Monday.

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Apply to the Prosperity Initiative 2020 cohort at by Jan. 29. Contact Pam Bishop, vice president of economic development at SMIF, at or 507-214-7013 with questions.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 29% of Minnesota’s population in 2040 will be people of color, an increase from only 4% in 1980. In response to this rapid growth, the Prosperity Initiative was designed to provide education and business resources to minority business owners and educate resource partners on the barriers and opportunities these individuals encounter. Since 2016, the Prosperity Initiative program has provided 66 clients with one-on-one business coaching.

The Prosperity Initiative is made possible by funding from Wells Fargo and Dan and Angie Bastian.