Category Archives: Downtown Revitalization

Free Business Coaching Available for Minority Entrepreneurs through SMIF

Northfield entrepreneurs who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC), women, veterans, low-income persons, and/or persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply for free business coaching. The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is seeking entrepreneurs for their Prosperity Prosperity Initiative program.

According to SMIF’s website, “Prosperity Initiative clients commit to a six-month period of working directly with an experienced business coach for a total of 40 hours. Additionally, clients connect monthly with other entrepreneurs participating in the program through peer network meetings to discuss challenges and successes. All resources are free for participating businesses.

When the Prosperity Initiative was created in 2016, its mission was to help remove barriers to success for BIPOC entrepreneurs. This is the first year that the program has expanded its eligibility to also include entrepreneurs who identify as women, veterans, low-income and/or a person with disabilities. More than 80 clients have graduated from the program.

“We are excited to work with a new cohort of Prosperity Initiative businesses this fall,” said Pam Bishop, vice president of economic development. “This is a great opportunity to gain resources to support high-priority areas in your company.”

The Prosperity Initiative is supported, in part, by State of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Partners serving on the advisory committee include Community Economic Development Associates (CEDA)Collider FoundationHispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research (HACER)Region Nine Development CommissionMerchants Bank – WinonaMinnesota Council of Churches – Tapestry Project.

Apply to become a Prosperity Initiative client at smifoundation.org/prosperity by August 19, 2022. The program will begin in early September 2022 and run through February 2023. Contact Christopher Mazziotto, director of business development, at christopherm@smifoundation.org or 507-214-7018 with questions.”

Northfield businesses needing assistance with their application or a community letter of support can reach out to Main Street Director, Revee Needham, via email or 507-645-3041.

Northfield EDA Announces Facade Improvement Program

The Northfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) recently announced a new 3-year pilot loan program to assist downtown property owners who wish to make improvements to their building exteriors. The Facade Improvement Program will provide $20,000 a year in matching grant money to fund this initiative.  Each reimbursable grant will match the investment of the property owner dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000.

The NDDC Design Committee is grateful to the EDA for creating this new program. It’s the first local public assistance available to building owners in the historic district for many years. We encourage anyone that has been considering exterior work on their buildings to take advantage of this new opportunity!

Interested property owners should read the criteria for the program and, if interested, submit an application before March 15, 2020. If you have questions about the program or your application, please contact: Nate Carlson, Economic Development Coordinator (Nate.carlson@ci.northfield.mn.us /507-645-3069)