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Hennepin County board approves $4.22M for new small business capital funds

The Hennepin County board approved two agreements that invest $4.22 million and leverage as much as $16 million to create new funding sources for small businesses under Elevate Hennepin. 

The funding launches a new Hennepin County strategy to address the capital needs of under resourced entrepreneurs and reduce disparities in the county’s small business ecosystem.

The new funds are expected to support capital needs for approximately 120 underserved businesses in Hennepin County and generate approximately $20 million in leveraged investment in coming years. 

The agreements with NextStage, a nonprofit community-based lender, reflect two new small business financing strategies:

  • $1.1 million to seed a low-barrier capital fund designed to flexibly meet the needs of a variety of startups and established businesses, including contractors, who are underserved by traditional lending.
  • $3.12 million to launch an innovative new source of capital designed to help business owners buy and improve their commercial space.

“Our investments in small businesses as a county have come a long way in recent years,” said Hennepin County Board Chair Irene Fernando. “We have listened to the small businesses and entrepreneurs in our community and are being responsive to their needs. Providing this boost in seed capital will help even the playing field for small businesses in our communities.”

“This is so exciting. This is one of the biggest barriers I hear new businesses talking about--access to capital,” said Commissioner Debbie Goettel, District 5. “This funding will help small businesses stay and grow in their communities.”

By investing in business owners, Hennepin County is building a foundation to create a more inclusive and thriving economy that strengthens communities.

This funding will become available in 2025. To learn more about how to access these capital funds for your business, connect with NextStage or schedule a 15-minute conversation with an Elevate Hennepin Business Navigator

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