Financing and consulting resources for growing businesses
Small businesses are a critical driver of Minnesota’s economy. The state has over 500,000 small businesses that together employ over 1.3 million Minnesotans.
There are a variety of organizations, private, public, and non-profit, that are dedicated to helping small businesses start and expand. While the Grow Minnesota! team is available to assist throughout the process, here are some resources to help get you started.
Financing Resources for Minnesota Small Businesses
Raising capital is a vital part of building a business and while each company is different, loans are the most common financing option for most businesses to sustain and scale their operations. For additional industry and location-specific financing programs, check out our Business and Economic Development Resources financing page.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a premier backer of small business lending, providing loan guarantees to banks and CDFI’s that enable them to increase access to capital for small businesses. Local lenders can be found here. The most common SBA loan is the 7(a) loan which can be used for short- and long-term working capital, real estate purchases, refinancing current business debt, or to purchase furniture, fixtures, and supplies. The 504 loan is another great option for building/land purchases or improvement. SBA loans vary in size from microloans of a few thousand to 7(a) loans of five million.
Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD)
For those in the Twin Cities Metro, the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD) is a CDFI that offers a variety of financing options including microloans and non-traditional loans. Additionally, MCCD runs an Open to Business program which provides free, confidential business counseling to current and prospective entrepreneurs. Community advisors can be found here.
Minnesota Initiative Foundation
If you are in are in Greater Minnesota, you can receive assistance from your region’s Minnesota Initiative Foundation which strengthen and support their local economies. Each foundation is independent and serves its geographic region with grants, business loans, programs, and economic development assistance.
Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA)
The Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) is a CDFI and community organization that offers business consulting and commercial lending for BIPOC businesses anywhere in Minnesota. The lending programs can assist with lines of credit, SBA loans, commercial real estate, mergers and acquisitions, and more. Notably, businesses must be owned and controlled by entrepreneurs of color.
For female business leaders, WomenVenture is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides funding and resources to learn and grow. Their lending programs can be used to help start or expand your business including for working capital, leasehold improvements, inventory, debt refinancing, and machinery.
Free Consulting and Advisory Services for Minnesota Small Businesses
There are several free advising and mentoring programs to help small businesses navigate a wide variety of strategic and operational issues. It is also worth checking your local government’s website as they may have specialized technical assistance programs available.
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
First, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) Small Business Assistance Office (SBAO) can assist with a wide range of inquiries from financing to basic process questions. Their business consultation services can address complex regulatory, financial, managerial, business structure and other questions while connecting you with relevant DEED financing and programming. If you are interested in DEED programs, this is the best place to start. To contact the SBAO, call 651-556-8425 or 800-310-832 or email email@example.com.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
In addition to the SBAO, DEED operates a network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) which deliver free and individualized business advising and technical assistance to existing small businesses and pre-venture entrepreneurs. SBDCs provide problem-solving assistance to help small businesses access capital, create business plans, and more. Your local SBDC can be found here.
SCORE is a non-profit that will connect you with a local mentor that matches your business interests and concerns. They can assist you on a variety of topics and generally provide advice on running a business. You can request a mentor here. If you are an established business leader, you can become a mentor here.
Finally, if you are in Ramsey, Hennepin, Dakota, and Scott counties, along with the city of Saint Paul, CEO Next is a resource program for second stage businesses. The purpose of the program is to help growing companies make a larger impact by offering peer learning, forum events, business research and support at no cost.
Need more assistance?
The Grow Minnesota! team at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce can provide additional assistance to help your business access the above resources.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more assistance.