African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) and the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) will receive nearly $300,000 in grant funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME).
“We’re excited to have two national PRIME grants go to local nonprofits who offer training and technical assistance to disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs in our great state,” said Nancy Libersky, SBA’s Minnesota district director.
SBA’s micro-entrepreneur program helps low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.
With its $150,000 grant, AEDS will launch its business entrepreneurship program. With this funding, 220 entrepreneurs will receive training, technical assistance, and access to small business loan capital over the course of the one-year grant period.
“This SBA funding will allow AEDS to effectively address the needs of aspiring and existing African immigrant entrepreneurs so as to turn their creative ideas into new business and growth,” said Gene Gelgelu, executive director of AEDS. “Moreover, the funding will help build more capacity and take AEDS into a new and higher platform and enable it to play a key role in the business development industry.”With Meda, which received $149,644, will expand services to Minnesota’s minority micro-entrepreneurs throughout the entire business life cycle through increased assistance and strategic partnerships. Meda will also begin developing an online, single point of entry into the minority business development ecosystem.
“The technical assistance funded by the SBA is crucial to the long-term viability and success of minority-owned businesses in Minnesota,” said CEO Gary Cunningham of Meda. “Meda will help minority entrepreneurs receive the trusted guidance, capital and access to markets needed to build sustainable businesses, work forces and maximize their contribution to the state economy.”
Including AEDS and Meda, 34 recipients in 24 states and Washington D.C. will receive grants ranging from $55,000 to $250,000. Nearly 150 organizations applied.
 

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