Cummins, the large maker of generators and engines with a plant in Fridley, has given the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) $1 million to provide loans and grants for Black-owned businesses in the Twin Cities.
"By helping these targeted communities into the economic mainstream, Meda aids in job growth and economic empowerment for underserved business owners," Meda CEO Alfredo Martel said Tuesday.
"We are nowhere close to fulfilling the demand," he added. "We are seeing transitions from the immediate-response, crisis mode of 2020, to recovery in 2021. We then expect business growth."
Cummins on Tuesday said that it was making similar investment in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in Memphis, Indianapolis and Columbus, Ind., where the company is based.
CDFIs are U.S. Treasury-certified nonprofit minority-business counselors and lenders that work with small businesses.
Shon Wright, a vice president of Cummins, said: "The community partners we identified share our understanding that when we aid the Black community, we in fact support the larger community."
Meda said it will take applications through March 24 for the assistance it will provide with the Cummins funds.
Meda, the oldest and largest of the Twin Cities CDFIs, has put its entire portfolio to work to assist minority businesses hurt by the pandemic and recession.
Backed by larger lenders, corporations and foundations, Meda has grown its capital and loan portfolio from about $5 million to $23 million since 2013 and was fully loaned out by the end of last year.
Martel said he will tell his board this week that he expects Meda's loan capital fund to surpass $30 million by the end of this year.
Meda in 2020 provided technical assistance to 350-plus minority enterprises, helped more than 200 apply for emergency loans through the Small Business Administration and the state program, and helped Hennepin County distribute $14 million in emergency aid to 1,100 small businesses with funds covered by the federal CARES Act.
Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144