A Helping Hand For Minority-Owned Businesses

By Tim Krohn
The Free Press, Mankato, Minn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Six business owners in southern Minnesota recently graduated from The Prosperity Initiative, a program intended to promote minority-owned business growth. The initial class went through an intensive two-day training to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and to hear from a variety of speakers about everything from forming a business plan to social media, marketing, finances and hiring. Now the graduates will each get a mentor tailored to their needs who will meet with them monthly for the next six to nine months.

MANKATO

Angel Uribe started her drug and alcohol assessment and counseling business five years ago. While successful, she knew she wasn’t equipped to grow the business like she wishes.

Mary Reeves has been in business even longer. For 15 years she has been majority owner, along with her husband, of the landscaping business Curb Appeal of Southern Minnesota. She has summer employees and keeps busy, but knew she wasn’t keeping up with certain aspects of the business.

Both women are part of six business owners who recently graduated from The Prosperity Initiative, a program intended to promote minority-owned business growth in southern Minnesota. They said the training gave them valuable insights about their strengths and weaknesses and a better understanding of how to move forward and thrive.

“It was an awesome experience,” Uribe said. “It was a shot in the arm.”

The program is offered by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, with a two-year grant from Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development. SMIF partners with others on the program, including small-business development centers and diversity councils.

Pam Bishop, vice president of economic development at SMIF, said minority populations are increasingly the ones starting new business and fueling economic development, particularly in many smaller communities.

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