SUPERIOR — The Duluth-based entrepreneurial foundation, which currently serves 16 counties in northeastern Minnesota and Douglas County, Wisconsin, said Thursday, Oct. 27, at a press conference at the Center for Superior Entrepreneurship. , announced plans to expand its reach to 12 more counties in northern Wisconsin. .

The move is supported by an $8 million Diverse Business Assistance and Diverse Business Investment grant from the state of Wisconsin. The funding is intended to help small business owners start, grow and expand their businesses. The three-year grant includes $5 million in revolving loan funding and his $500,000 direct grant to companies. The Entrepreneur Fund plans to add his second satellite office in northern Wisconsin.

Carly Viegut, Director of Communications at the Entrepreneur Fund, said: “And funding allows us to do it in a really positive and powerful way, with the support behind it, to do the work we want to do.”

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From left to right, Dave Mannion, Chairman of the Entrepreneurship Fund Board. Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Undersecretary Patti Epstein. Crystal Rhode with Northwest Regional Planning Commission; Kathy Blumenfeld, nominee for Commissioner General; Andy Donahue of his Small Business Development Center holds his $8 million check from Wisconsin during a press conference at the Center for Entrepreneurship of Excellence on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

The Entrepreneurship Fund has been in existence since 1989 and currently serves 2,000 businesses annually, including nearly 100 in Douglas County. An accredited community development agency, this non-profit organization is dedicated to providing capital and support to local small businesses.

“We are serious about growing our business, growing our employees, and even growing our startups,” said Dave Manion, chairman of the nonprofit’s board of directors. “People working as entrepreneurs using our system basically have an 89% success rate.”

12 new counties added in 2023: Ashland, Bayfield, Barnett, Iron, Price, Sawyer and Washburn. By 2025, the Florence, Forrest, Marinette, Oneida, and Villas Entrepreneurship Fund will expand to serve an estimated 500 Wisconsin businesses.

Board member Crystal Rhode said:

The $8 million was part of a second round of diversified business grants funded by Governor Tony Evers with federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars. Administrative Director-designate Kathy Blumenfeld said the grant program attracted more than 150 of her applications. Only 50 were awarded. Blumenfeld said the grant program in particular will allow the state to go deeper and help more people, especially those most in need.

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Wisconsin Commissioner Nominee Kathy Blumenfeld speaks at a news conference Thursday, Oct. 27, at the Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship at 1401 Tower Avenue, where the state’s 800-year-old support for small business support in northern Wisconsin. We are talking about a million dollar investment. Deputy Commissioner of Financial Institutions Patti Epstein.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

“And having a revolving loan fund is great because it helps one business and as they pay off the money helps another business and another so that the money has a life of its own. Because it will be,” Blumenfeld said.

Local entrepreneurs gathered for the announcement.

Kal Harris, who owns Superior Waffles with his wife Natalie, said: “I think it just brings more opportunities. You know people who have great ideas for businesses, but they don’t have the resources or funding to move that project forward. Hopefully some of that money can help with that.”

The Entrepreneur Fund recently helped the couple buy a van to reach Phase 2 of their business: catering.

“We’ve had baby showers, we’ve had weddings, and we want to have a graduation party as graduation approaches,” Harris said. “And it was a really great experience.”

Ben Anderson and his wife Mary have realized their dream of owning Eddie’s Supper Club with the help of an Entrepreneurship Fund. Anderson said it’s been great working with the nonprofit’s staff.

“I think I’m really approachable and very personable. I think you’re more than just a number,” he said.

The Center of Excellence for Entrepreneurship at 1401 Tower Avenue is a one-stop shop that includes the Entrepreneur Fund, Center for Business Development of Excellence, Development Association, District of Excellence for Business Improvement, and offices of the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Small Business Development of Excellence. . It opened this year.

Blumenfeld said of the center: “I think this in itself has caused quite a lot of ramifications.

For more information on the Entrepreneur Fund and to complete the application, please visit

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Community members will participate in a press conference detailing how the Entrepreneurial Fund will expand its reach into northern Wisconsin, with $8 million in support from Wisconsin’s Diverse Business Investment and Diverse Business Assistance Programs. at the premier entrepreneurship center at 1401 Tower Avenue.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

A map showing the counties currently served by the Duluth-based Entrepreneurial Fund (in green) and Wisconsin counties that will expand over the next three years. Nonprofits will expand into dark blue counties in the first phase beginning in 2023 and into light blue counties by 2025.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

From left, Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Deputy Commissioner Patti Epstein, Administration Commissioner Kathy Blumenfeld, and Development Center Executive Director Jim Caesar on Outstanding Entrepreneurship on Thursday, Oct. 27. We are chatting following a press conference held at the House Spirit Center.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

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