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Regional Small Business Relief Fund now open for applications

Apr 22, 2020 11:17AM ● By Editor
From The Entrepreneur Fund - April 22, 2020

The Entrepreneur Fund, Northland Foundation, and The Northspan Group, Inc. are pleased to announce they are accepting grant applications for its recently-formed Small Business Relief Fund. The three partners developed the fund in response to COVID-19 and intend to provide grants up to $5,000 to regional small business owners facing significant financial challenges resulting from the pandemic.  
“Small businesses need our support now more than ever. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received and look forward to raising more funds to support small businesses,” said Shawn Wellnitz, Entrepreneur Fund CEO. “Creating the Small Business Relief Fund so quickly would not have been possible without close collaboration with our partners. Together we’ve increased the impact of this fund beyond what we thought possible.” 
For more information, follow the links: Application Process & Application.
The Entrepreneur Fund launched the Small Business Relief Fund in March 2020 with an open call to individual donors to seed the fund. Minnesota Power made a generous donation of $10,000 to kick off the fund and individual donors brought in an additional $3,000. The Entrepreneur Fund, Northland Foundation, and Northspan jointly applied for and received $50,000 from the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund from the Minnesota Council on Foundations to assist businesses in the seven-county region of northeast Minnesota.  
“We appreciate the Minnesota Council on Foundations for recognizing the extent of the crisis in northeast Minnesota and supporting our effort,” said Tony Sertich, the President of the Northland Foundation. “By pairing this funding with the Entrepreneur Fund’s Small Business Relief Fund, we have the ability to deliver resources to more businesses and better leverage the wide range of programs available to help businesses through these difficult times.” 
The Small Business Relief Fund will provide direct grants up to $5,000 to small business owners in northeast Minnesota, central Minnesota, and northwest Wisconsin. The review committee will prioritize grants to: 
  1. Be an existing small business, less than 5 FTEs, AND during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Federal Government Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) does not fit.
  2. Business affected by the disaster (all businesses; not only those included in the State of MN executive order.
  3. Priority will be given to those businesses that serve as a core community staple such as rural/community grocery stores, restaurants, downtown/main street retail or hospitality, etc. 
  4. Fund review committee determination that the available grants will make a discernible impact on the sustainability of the business.  
  5. Timing is of the essence for disbursement of funds. 
As business needs are identified, these grants could be paired with other resources, such as consulting guidance to manage the effects of the pandemic, as well as financial resources that may include flexible working capital loans from the Entrepreneur Fund and other local, state, and federal resources that become available. 
“It has been amazing to see the region come together to support small business in the wake of COVID-19, added Elissa Hansen, the President & CEO of Northspan. “We are grateful to our partners that have shared in this effort to ensure we are providing valuable resources to help small businesses persevere through this crisis.”  
For more information, follow the links: Application Process & Application.
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