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SBA Awards $400,000 in PRIME Grants to Help Emerging Minnesota Micro-Entrepreneurs Gain Access to Capital

Nationally, SBA Awards $5.2 Million to 27 Organizations to Provide Technical Assistance and Training to Economically Disadvantaged Businesses
Release Date: 
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Release Number: 
Sarah Swenty,

MINNEAPOLIS – The Entrepreneur Fund and Initiative Foundation are each receiving a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide direct technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs and help them get financing to establish and expand their small businesses through the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs, more commonly known as PRIME. This award will support Minnesota’s low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.

With its PRIME award of $200,000, Initiative Foundation, will support their Enterprise Academy in St. Cloud, Minn., and expand the program into Brainerd and the Mille Lacs Reservation. The EA program is a cohort-based, twelve-week entrepreneurial development course for disadvantaged entrepreneurs, which was successfully piloted in St. Cloud in 2018. It offers a customized training curriculum and coaching support, with the ultimate goal of preparing participants to access small business financing from either IF or another lender.

The Entrepreneur Fund will use its $200,000 PRIME award to target services to minority, women, and low-income microentrepreneurs to provide extensive services including traditional 1:1 consultations and technical assistance, along with new virtual services including online learning platforms, virtual networking opportunities, and virtual classroom settings for business classes/programs. This will extend the reach of services to rural areas and support a transitioning culture around social distancing needs.

“The Biden-Harris Administration and Congress have worked together tirelessly to ensure our nation's small businesses have the resources they need to survive this pandemic and build back better,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “This year, SBA focused our PRIME grant selection process on our nonprofit partners who can best bring federal resources to life, especially in the regions and communities where they are needed most. I look forward to partnering with these organizations as they help us connect America’s entrepreneurs with the capital they need to start and grow their enterprises.”

For 2021, the SBA placed special emphasis on projects designed to offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those projects serving entrepreneurs in Opportunity Zones, rural areas and Historically Underutilized Business Zones. This year’s 27 PRIME grant recipients represent 17 states and the District of Columbia and 15 provide services in Opportunity Zones and 12 provide services in HUBZones.

“It’s great to see this competitive federal funding coming to support low-income, BIPOC & Native entrepreneurs, and in some rural areas of Minnesota,” said SBA Minnesota District Director Brian McDonald. “The Entrepreneur Fund and Initiative Foundation are well positioned to help those seeking to achieve their small business dreams.”

This year more than 100 organizations applied for PRIME grants, which range from $75,000 to $250,000, and typically require at least 50% in matching funds or in-kind contributions. PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds will be made available on September 30, 2021, and the project period for each grant is one year.



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, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more visit