Walz, DEED, announce $10 million in investments for small businesses

04/2023(Quinn Gorham)
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 6:46 PM CST
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SAINT PAUL, Minn. (GRAY) – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced a new $10 million program to help promote small businesses in the state.

The so-called “Expanding Opportunity Fund,” run by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), aims to broaden opportunities for small business owners through affordable loans.

“One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is just straight access to capital,” said Governor Walz.

The governor explained the program is designed to circumvent challenges that often arise for businesses with little or no established equity and credit.

“[We want] to have some of that access to capital working with private lenders, nonprofit private lenders to make that happen, and today, we’re proud to announce the expanding opportunity fund,” he said.

The program will fund private lenders in the state, encouraging them to offer low-interest loans.

“Small businesses across the state drive economic growth and character and innovation in small communities and in large communities,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan.

Logistically, the move could help boost a state economy that’s already seen several quarters of growth in recent years.

“Over 61,000 businesses started in 2022 in Minnesota. That’s nearly one-third above 2019. We have the highest five-year business survivability rate of any state in the country,” said DEED Deputy Commissioner Kevin McKinnon.

In an ideal world, businesses can use the new program as one tool in their repertoire when getting their business off the ground.

“When small businesses can’t necessarily get the amount of capital that they need through traditional sources, this can make up a portion of it and is often combined with traditional sources,” said McKinnon.