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SBA Awards Entrepreneur Fund $150,000 PRIME Grant to Help Emerging Micro-Entrepreneurs Gain Access to Capital

Nationally, SBA Awards $5 Million to Assist Low-Income Entrepreneurs and Support Economic Development in Distressed Communities
Release Date: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Release Number: 

MINNEAPOLIS – Entrepreneur Fund is set to receive a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital through the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs, more commonly known as PRIME. This award will support Entrepreneur Fund’s efforts to assist disadvantaged microentrepreneurs in Crow Wing, Itasca and North St. Louis counties, along the North Shore in Cook and Lake counties, and in distressed urban areas of Duluth, Minn.

“These funds from the SBA will help Entrepreneur Fund make an impact on entrepreneurs trying to take their business to the next level and make it sustainable,” SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Rob Scott said. “This business development also will make an impact on local economies and help spur economic development and job creation in distressed areas, which is a key element of SBA’s strategy.”

Under the SBA PRIME grant, the Entrepreneur Fund will provide services to 250 disadvantaged microentrepreneurs in FY2020 to improve key business skills, develop entrepreneur networks, and access small business capital. The Entrepreneur Fund will specifically target services to four rural communities and one distressed urban area to provide extensive services that will result in the growth of business revenues, personal incomes of the owner, and access to small business financing.

"Entrepreneurship is a powerful tool, especially in rural communities, for creating living wage jobs and a path to economic mobility. The SBA PRIME grant will inject additional resources into Northeast and Central Minnesota to make that a reality, not only impacting the individual small business owners, but communities as a whole. Our team is thrilled at receiving the award and excited to continue moving this important work forward," said Entrepreneur Fund CEO/President Shawn Wellnitz.

This year more than 130 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. The 30 PRIME grant recipients represent 22 states and eight are in Opportunity Zones, which were created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and are designed to spur new capital investment in America’s economically distressed communities. Grant funds will be made available on September 30, 2019, and the project period for each grant is one year.


About The Entrepreneur Fund
The Entrepreneur Fund is the resource for entrepreneurs in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. The Entrepreneur Fund has fueled more than 14,000 businesses with expert support and funded over $48 million in loans since 1989. The Entrepreneur Fund is dedicated to strengthening entrepreneurship in the region, while also supporting and increasing economic development. Through this strategic approach, the Entrepreneur Fund promotes the entrepreneurial spirit and helps create economic wealth and diversity in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.  For more information, visit

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