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14,800 hours, 1,100 entrepreneurs served in 2023

Elevate stats through 2023

14,800 hours, 1,100 entrepreneurs served in 2023

Elevate Hennepin advisors spent an incredible 14,809 hours working with 1,122 entrepreneurs across Hennepin County last year. Advisors offered support for marketing, business planning, legal questions, and financial planning, all paid for by Hennepin County as an investment in building a more prosperous, vibrant business community.

Overall, it was a record year for the initiative that began during the COVID-19 pandemic as a rescue effort. Since then, Elevate Hennepin has moved on from offering emergency service to empowering growth and innovation, as Community and Economic Development Director Patricia Fitzgerald explained.

“Last year represented a shift for Elevate Hennepin, from rescue to resource network with valuable tools for every local entrepreneur, hard-working founder, and seasoned business owner,” said Economic Development Director Patricia Fitzgerald. “More and more, we see our diverse business community look to our Elevate Hennepin advisor network to explore opportunities and solve challenges that come with growth and scale.”

This record year means since the Elevate began, 2,444 entrepreneurs across Hennepin County have tapped into advising for 26,427 hours of support.

Support across disciplines and across the county

Key stats for Elevate Hennepin 2023Through the year, users received an average of 13 hours of coaching, advising, or technical assistance to move their business or idea forward. The most-used service type was what falls under “general business services,” which is support for creating a solid business plan, support around strategic planning, and general coaching on specific business challenges. Through 2023, 43 percent of advising hours were dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs with this kind of service.

The next most-used service was access to capital. In 2023, 17 percent of hours provided by Elevate Hennepin advisors were spent on the topic. All those hours added up to a real impact—Elevate Hennepin users were able to raise $12.8 million in financing in 2023.

The third key consulting area was marketing, a business essential that changes continually. Elevate Hennepin advisors dedicated 16 percent of hours to supporting entrepreneurs with websites, social media, branding, marketing plans, and other marketing work.

Empowering a diverse business community

Throughout 2023, Elevate Hennepin proved it can support businesses of all sizes and entrepreneurs across cultural backgrounds.

Just over 40 percent of businesses reported less than $50,000 in gross sales, but 29 percent reported $50,000 to $250,000 in sales. In all, 11 percent of Elevate Hennepin advisees reported $250,000 to more than $1 million in sales.

Thirty five percent of advisees had one to four employees, 28 percent were self-employed, and 19 percent were in the business idea stage. At the high end, six percent of business owners who used Elevate Hennepin reported more than 10 employees.

Elevate Hennepin started with a key goal of making the Hennepin County business community more culturally diverse. Through the year, 56 percent of Elevate Hennepin users were women and 34 percent were men. Forty two percent identified as Black or African American, 26 percent identified as white, 10 percent identified as Hispanic or Latino and six percent identified as Asian.

Advisees were also geographically diverse. No matter the discipline, entrepreneurs from 33 cities out of the 45 cities across the county tapped into Elevate Hennepin in 2023, but service extended from the Minneapolis core to the suburban and rural communities that make the county so diverse.

Exceptional advisors

None of this would be possible without an incredible network of advisors. This group of just under 40 consultants and advisory firms provided a huge number of hours and created real impacts in Hennepin County.

With their help, not only did county entrepreneurs secure $12.8 million in funding and financing, but they supported the creation or preservation of 256 jobs, the formation of 92 businesses in 2023 alone.

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