SMIF announces new prosperity initiative

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) announced the members of the 2021 Prosperity Initiative cohort, a program which provides free coaching and training to entrepreneurs who identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC). Seven business owners from four different communities have joined this year’s cohort, according to a press release.  SMIF is currently recruiting additional members.

According to the US Census Bureau, 29% of Minnesota’s population will be people of color by 2040, an increase from only 4% in 1980. The Prosperity Initiative was designed to respond to this rapid growth and help remove barriers to success for entrepreneurs.

Whether entrepreneurs in the program already have a business, or just an idea for one, they are paired with an expert coach who guides them through the process of building a business plan, creating a marketing plan, finding access to financing and navigating regulations. Since the launch of the Prosperity Initiative in 2016, 67 entrepreneurs have graduated from this program.

SMIF welcomes the following entrepreneurs to the 2021 cohort:

• Blair Construction Cleaner, a construction clean-up company (Rochester)

• Green Light Services, a construction company (Mankato)

• Hiwet Products, a food manufacturer (Owatonna)

• New Dawn Education Group, an early childhood education center (Owatonna)

• Rightly Guided Freight Services, a trucking business (Rochester)

• Root River Inn, a bed and breakfast (Lanesboro)

• Safe Relations Space and Consulting, a community space for healing and teaching (Mankato)

“We are excited to welcome these new clients to the program,” said Pam Bishop, vice president of economic development at SMIF. “We look forward to seeing how their businesses develop over the next year.”

SMIF is currently seeking additional members to join this year’s Prosperity Initiative cohort. Contact Maddy Fisher at or 507-214-7029 or visit for more information.

The Prosperity Initiative is a partnership between SMIF, Community Economic Development Associates (CEDA), Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce, Hourglass Consulting, Region Nine Development Commission and Rochester Diversity Council. This program is made possible by funding from Dan and Angie Bastian, Target Foundation and Wells Fargo Foundation.