Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) announced that the organization has received $100,000 in initial funding from the Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program (ELP) to provide as loans to support the growth of businesses owned and operated by minorities, low-income persons, women, veterans and/or persons with disabilities.

“The Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program is an invaluable tool that will help RAEDI empower historically underserved entrepreneurs in the Rochester area,” said John Wade, President of RAEDI, in a press release.

In order to qualify for a loan under the ELP, businesses must be based in Minnesota and owned and operated by one or more Minnesota residents who are minorities, low-income persons, women, veterans and/or persons with disabilities. The program will finance a variety of start-up and expansion costs, including normal expenses such as machinery and equipment, inventory and receivables, working capital, new construction, renovation, and site acquisition. Businesses eligible for loans include, but are not limited to, technologically innovative industries, value-added manufacturing, and information industries.

ELP loans can range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $150,000 per project, matched at least 1:1 by new private financing. Beginning microenterprises (defined as businesses that have fewer than five employees and have generated sales revenue for two years or less), including retail businesses, may apply for $5,000 to $50,000 without private matching funds.

“We’ve seen the need grow for the ELP firsthand over the last year and a half and are eager to deploy these funds to help grow, retain, and diversify the Rochester area economy,” said Sean Williams, Director of Entrepreneurial Services for RAEDI.

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RAEDI was one of 26 nonprofit lending partners across the state to receive the funding. In total, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) awarded grants totaling $3.1 million.

The program has additional goals of providing jobs for minority and/or low-income persons, creating and strengthening minority business enterprises, and promoting economic development in low-income areas.

Entrepreneurs interested in learning more can email swilliams@raedi.com or call (507) 288-0208.