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2012 Minnesota Financial Services Champion

Release Date: 
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Release Number: 
Advisory Date: 
Friday, April 13, 2012
Advisory Number: 
Sherree Stratton (612) 370-2325

Minnesota SBA Honors
Financial Services Champion

Virginia, Minn. – Jennifer J. Pontinen, MBA, EDFP, Professional Business Consultant with the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Center for Economic Development – the Small Business Development Center for Northeast Minnesota – in Virginia, Minn., has been named Minnesota Financial Services Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Financial Services Champion award is presented annually in each state to individuals who assist small businesses through advocacy efforts to increase the usefulness and availability of accounting or financial services.  Elaine S. Hansen, Director of UMD Center for Economic Development at the NE Minnesota Small Business Development Center, in Duluth, Minn., nominated Pontinen for this award. 

Since 2007 Jennifer has served as a Professional Business Consultant for the Northeast Minnesota Small Business Development Center (MnSBDC) located at the Mesabi Range Community and Technical college campus in Virginia, Minnesota.   She is a one-person financial authority, professional coach, and advisor for the businesses not only in her area and the surrounding community, but also in the region, the State of Minnesota and now beyond the State borders. 

Jennifer has made a difference for small businesses in the Quad Cities of Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert and Mountain Iron, and surrounding area through her efforts in assisting small businesses with the financial management as well as working with financial institutions and providing services to improve and support of locally owned and operated businesses.

She has devoted her career to supporting entrepreneurs and businesses with her financial expertise and extensive knowledge of the finance industry.  She continues to use her financial sills to assist business in navigating a multitude of financial issues including SBA loan packaging, federal state and local government financing, and various accounting issues. 

Jennifer earned both her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and her Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance and Human Resource Management at the University of Minnesota on the Duluth campus.  Additionally, Jennifer became a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) through her work at Kaplan University where she earned a Certificate in Financial

Planning, and has held a Series 7 license as a General Securities Representative, a Series 66 state & Investment Advisory license, as well as a Life and Health Insurance license in the State of Minnesota.

Her past experience as a business banker is useful in working with business owners who are seeking financing – she understands the banking process, loan options, and financing requirements.

As a MNSBDC Consultant, her job is to work with businesses; however, her expertise in financial matters has allowed Jennifer to provide a service to small businesses that is exemplary and far exceeds one-on-one consulting to businesses.  She has worked to assist local bankers better serve their customers, teaches workshops targeted to educate small business owners, write monthly columns on financial management topics for the local print and on-line media, provides financial expertise regarding current business needs to various economic development groups, and actively participates on several board, committees and organization within the northeast region of Minnesota.   

For more information:

Jennifer J. Pontinen, MBA, EDFP
SBDC Professional Business Consultant
UMD Center for Economic Development
Quad Cities SBDC
1001 W. Chestnut Street
Virginia, MN  55792

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