The Entrepreneur Development program ensures that resources needed are available to foster an attitude of economic independence through the creation of successful small businesses.

Program Objectives:

  • Provide appropriate levels of financing for individuals otherwise denied access to small amounts of capital
  • Create an environment of entrepreneurial activity as a stimulant for overall growth throughout the region
  • Provide access to Entrepreneur Development services throughout the twelve county region of Northwest Minnesota
  • Ensure a program that fosters innovation, effectiveness, efficiency and is result-oriented

The Entrepreneur Development Program creates business opportunities leading to long-term community impact and diversification of the economy. NMF staff provides technical assistance and financing to individuals who want to start a business or persons wanting to expand an existing business.

Loan Eligibility and Terms
  • Retail, service, manufacturing and other business types are generally eligible.
  • Loan funds can be used for equipment, inventory, working capital and to refinance business debt.
  • Real estate purchases are not eligible. Light renovations may be eligible.
  • The maximum loan amount is $35,000. Loans up to $50,000 available on a case by case basis.
  • Loan terms can be up to six years.
  • The current interest rate is 6.5%, fixed for the term.
  • All loans must have collateral and are typically subordinate to a lead bank (if involved).
Application Process

The entire Entrepreneur Development application process may require four to six weeks from the time an application is received until the loan is closed.

Because each business lending situation is unique, NMF requests that applicants email Emma to assist with the process.

Click here to submit a financing inquiry form.

Click here to download the loan application.

Additional Requirements
May include the following:

  • Tax returns
  • Owner Resume
  • Description of Collateral
  • Other information as requested

Business Plan Outline

Cash Flow Template

Personal Financial Statement

Loan Application (Fillable PDF)

Technical Assistance
Technical assistance is provided in combination with financing – before, during and after financing is made. This assistance can include: pre-loan counseling, marketing and management assessment, financial planning and business plan preparation.

After financing is made, technical assistance continues with bookkeeping and accounting assistance, marketing strategy, and management and operations strategy. Specialized needs can also be met through other consultants and specialized training programs.

NMF is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer. Funding partners include the McKnight Foundation, The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, USDA Rural Development, Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital Program and other funders.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Entrepreneur Development Program?
Loans are available for small businesses. Technical assistance is also provided before, during, and after the loan repayment term.
What is technical assistance?
Staff experienced in business development provides guidance in all aspects of business ownership: management strategies, and goal setting, marketing, personnel, compliance with taxing agencies, and financial management. Sometimes an expert consultant can be hired to provide higher level expertise.
Where must my business be located?
We serve businesses located within the 12 northwest counties of Minnesota served by NMF: Hubbard, Beltrami, Lake of the Woods, Clearwater, Roseau, Mahnomen, Polk, Red Lake, Pennington, Marshall, Kittson, Norman.
How much money can I get?
The maximum loan amount is $35,000. Loans up to $50,000 available on a case by case basis.
For what may I use the loan proceeds?
Loans may be used for business start-up and expansion, including machinery and equipment, inventory and working capital. Loans are not to finance real estate.
What other loan terms apply?
Length of loan is based on the assets being financed and the amount of the loan. Loan terms can be for up to six years. The interest rate, fixed for the term, changes every few years and is currently 6.5%.
Where do I get the special loans/grants for women-owned businesses?
There are no special grant programs in our area to help women go into business. There are also no special loan programs in our region specifically for women. Loan programs to help small businesses get started, such as NMF’s Entrepreneur Development Program, are available to everyone. Women’s applications are reviewed in the same manner as any other loan application.
My bank has turned me down for a loan. Can you help me?
Perhaps. Our program’s goals and objectives allow us to assist where capital and/or capacity may otherwise limit a bank’s ability to fund.
Should I call you before my local bank?
We encourage you to make use of your existing bank relationships where possible. For loan requests $20,000 or higher, applying to your bank is the first step. Many times we have worked in partnership with area banks.
I have bad credit. Should I apply?
It depends. Past problems are less important when a good track record has been established more recently.
What is the application process?
Staff meets with applicants to review completed applications. A Loan Review Committee makes all funding decisions.
How long does the process take?
The entire application process may require four to six weeks from the time an application is received until the loan is closed and funds disbursed.
Where do I get a grant to start a business?
Grants are money that does not have to be paid back. There are advertisements that offer to help you access government funds and grant money for your business. Most of those ads want you to pay a fee to find out the information, and the only one who actually makes money is the person selling you the information.

There are very limited grant funds available to businesses. The grants that are available are not typically related to the business itself, but through a social service program that is helping someone work toward being self-supporting. These grants are typically limited in use and in dollar amount.

Why doesn't NMF make grants to start a business?
NMF cannot legally make a grant to a for-profit business without jeopardizing our own non-profit charitable foundation status.