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Duluth Area Woman is SBA’s Minnesota Minority Small Business Champion for 2020

Release Date: 
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Release Number: 
20-16-MN
Contact: 
Sarah Swenty, 202-431-7587, sarah.swenty@sba.gov

MINNEAPOLIS – ChaQuana McEntyre is the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota Minority Small Business Champion for 2020. In recognition of National Small Business Week, SBA’s Minnesota District will recognize its 2020 state winners at local events in the weeks ahead.

McEntyre supports the advancement of business opportunities for minority business owners in the Duluth area, as an entrepreneur, non-profit founder and president, and social worker. She created and conducted business planning workshops and trainings to advance low to moderate income and minority entrepreneurs who want to start a business, supported by her work in social services and insights from her own small business experience.

“SBA’s resource partner Entrepreneur Fund has positively impacted small businesses in northern Minnesota and ChaQuana’s volunteer and small business efforts are an important part of helping the emerging minority market achieve greater success,” said Brian McDonald, SBA’s Minnesota district director.

With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work, McEntyre founded the non-profit Family Rise Together, providing programming and support for formerly incarcerated fathers, including business development programs, counseling services, and support groups. As an entrepreneur, McEntyre addresses the hair and skin needs of Black and biracial people with her own small business making 100% organic hair and body balm.

Blending her social work and small business background, McEntyre has given back to her wider community of minority entrepreneurs. Over the past five years, McEntyre has facilitated five entrepreneur cohorts, helping more than 50 individuals learn to start a business, she advises 15 active entrepreneurs, and has worked with almost 500 incarcerated individuals on their post release plan, including entrepreneurial ideas, all at no cost to the individuals. She also holds monthly meetings and inner circle partnerships to strengthen business partnerships among the Twin Ports of Duluth.

“The Entrepreneur Fund has provided funding to help ChaQuana put on classes but the time and effort she puts into each class and her work with the individuals exceeds the amount of funding provided,” said Women’s Business Center Director Sandi Larson, “She chooses to donate her time to help others start businesses. She is truly making an impact in the lives of minority business owners in our community.”

In 2019, McEntyre moved Family Rise Together from her home to The Encounter Building in the Central Hillside of Duluth in the heart of a low-income neighborhood that has a higher number of minorities. She increased in square footage and is now able to hold her business planning classes in a large community space in the building.

In recognition of National Small Business Week, which is taking place the third week of September, SBA’s Minnesota District will recognize its 2020 state winners at local events in the weeks ahead. At the national level, the SBA is hosting a national three-day virtual event Sept. 22-24 featuring conference numerous educational panels providing retooling and innovative practices for entrepreneurs as our nation’s small businesses look to pivot and recover toward a stronger economy. The SBA also will recognize the national award winners, including the naming of this year’s National Small Business Person of the Year. For registration and additional information on National Small Business Week, visit sba.gov/NSBW.


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov/mn.