Advance Thief River Awarded Funding

41 Grantees Announced to Support Small Business Success across Minnesota

Advance Thief River awarded $100,000

St. Paul — Today, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced that 41 organizations across Minnesota will receive Small Business Assistance Partnership funding to help small businesses grow and thrive.

DEED will award more than $12.5 million to nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, community development financial institutions and community development corporations. These projects are projected to serve almost 36,000 Minnesota small businesses and entrepreneurs through Oct. 31, 2025. The $12.5 million in state funding is matched by $21.8 million in funding from local, private and federal sources.

“Helping small businesses not just survive but thrive strengthens our communities – because small businesses are the backbone of towns across Minnesota,” said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek. “These Small Business Assistance Partnership grants will help local organizations provide the technical assistance small business owners need to succeed.”

The grants support the start-up, growth and success of Minnesota’s entrepreneurs and small businesses through the delivery of high-quality free or low-cost professional business development, education, subject matter expertise and technical assistance services. The 41 grantee organizations will provide small business development services to entrepreneurs and small business owners, with a particular focus on underserved populations and geographies, including individuals who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, U.S. military veterans, people with disabilities, low-income people and residents of Greater Minnesota.

Nearly three-quarters of the grantees (29 of 41) are focused on supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Color business owners and entrepreneurs. Just over half of the funding ($6.1 million) is going to grantees that will serve business owners and entrepreneurs in Greater Minnesota.

The selection process was highly competitive, focusing on proposals that aligned with the themes of equity, innovation and community vibrancy. Successful recipients demonstrated a clear plan to provide high-quality, culturally relevant services that will contribute to job growth, economic success and the prosperity of communities across the State of Minnesota.

“We are committed to fostering inclusive economic growth and supporting small businesses across Minnesota” said Neela Mollgaard, Executive Director of DEED’s Office of Small Business and Innovation. “The organizations selected will act on behalf of DEED to provide crucial support for business development and technical assistance services tailored to the unique needs of our business community.”

“The Advance Thief River board of directors is honored to receive this award of funding and thrilled to bring these resources to our community’s small businesses,” said Michelle Landsverk, Executive Director for Advance Thief River.  “In this post-COVID world, many Pennington County businesses are challenged by changing customer behaviors, tight/limited workforce, supply chain disruptions and escalating inflation. Business success (existing or startup) requires skillful marketing and cash management. Funding for this project will allow us to provide assistance for our business community in several key areas including strategic marketing, enhanced financial skills, succession planning, angel investment/lean startup training, and one-on-one business coaching. We anticipate launching the project in January 2024.”


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