The Twin Cities-based Neighborhood Development Center, a nonprofit that revitalizes low-income neighborhoods by empowering entrepreneurs, is one of four recipients of a national award for exceptional immigrant integration initiatives. The $50,000 award, announced Wednesday, was presented by the Migration Policy Institute's National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy.

The local organization was recognized for working with immigrant entrepreneurs and immigrant community organizations to help transform the economies of their neighborhoods from within.

Since it was founded in 1993, the Neighborhood Development Center has helped to revitalize 25 low-income neighborhoods in St. Paul and Minneapolis. It has provided more than $10 million in small-business financing, nearly half to immigrant-owned businesses. It has trained more than 4,250 entrepreneurs, including nearly 1,500 immigrants.

The center also owns and manages six business incubators housing about 120 small enterprises, the great majority operated by immigrants. The group has helped to overcome language barriers and problems like lack of credit history.

More than 450 NDC-assisted businesses are in operation, including a tortilla factory, a taxi company, barbershops and an Ethiopian restaurant. The center has worked with University Avenue businesses hurt by light-rail construction and start-up businesses that include those at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis.

"We are honored to receive the E Pluribus Unum Prize, which we view as important affirmation of our philosophy that residents, small businesses and civic groups in all communities have the talent and ability to work together to transform their neighborhood economies from within," Mihailo Temali, NDC's founder and CEO, said in a statement.

With an increase of immigrants, it is estimated the number of immigrant entrepreneurs in the United States has doubled over the past decade.

Mark Brunswick • 612-673-4434