Micro-Enterprise

A Minnesota Without Poverty is a statewide movement to end poverty in Minnesota by 2020. This non-profit organization has two priorities as part of its mission.

1. A Minnesota Without Poverty’s first priority is to develop a broad, collaborative process entitled “Connecting to End Poverty:  Moving the Legislative Commission to End Poverty Recommendations Forward in the Legislature.”

2. The second priority is to create and develop Micro-Enterprise Partnerships for small business development in Minnesota communities.

This webpage will describe and offer information on the second priority of developing Micro-Enterprise Partnerships in Minnesota.

How do Micro Enterprise Partnerships help end poverty in Minnesota?

Instead of depending on others to create jobs, this process allows persons or groups of people experiencing poverty to create their own businesses and livelihoods that also benefit their community.  The process allows people to help shape their own futures!

What is a Micro-Enterprise Partnership?

With employment so hard to find, A Minnesota Without Poverty believes that an approach called “Micro Enterprise Partnerships” must be offered and encouraged in communities throughout Minnesota.  Our goal is to provide opportunities for small business development among people who are experiencing poverty in local communities.  Partnerships are essential to ending poverty and the future development of communities!

What are the steps for developing a Micro Enterprise Partnership in your community?

A Minnesota Without Poverty uses eleven steps for developing a Micro Enterprise Partnership in your community.

What will A Minnesota Without Poverty provide to a local Micro-Enterprise Partnership?

For small business development in communities, A Minnesota Without Poverty will provide:

  • A grant of $5,000 to start a local loan pool
  • Team development
  • Free training for Micro-Enterprise Partnership members and potential business owners
  • Assistance in writing business plans
  • Assistance in completing loan applications
  • Ongoing counsel and guidance to carry out the local community development

What would be the roles of communities and volunteers in a local Micro-Enterprise Partnership?  

The role of the community is to find ten volunteers who would serve as the local Micro-Enterprise Partnership.  To explore the roles of the ten volunteers and the time commitment involved, please download, “Traits, Expectations, and Responsibilities of a Micro-Enterprise Partnership Group.”

How would local Micro-Enterprise Partnership volunteers recruit potential business developers?     

  •  First of all, Micro-Enterprise Partnership volunteers can identify potential business owners by exploring the traits, selection, and interviewing of potential business owners.  To explore this description, please download “Potential Business Owners — Traits, Selection, and Interviews”
  • Second, a printed brochure may be used to advertise and communicate the basic outline of the business training and development process.

How do Micro-Enterprise Partnerships encourage and support potential (as well as existing) business owners in their community?

To gain insight into how Micro-Enterprise Partnerships could support your potential business owners, please download, “Supporting Business Owners.”

How would new or existing business developers apply for training and prepare for a new business or expansion of an existing business?

Micro-Enterprise Partnership volunteers may provide potential business owners with an application form.  Business developers may use this form to apply for training and prepare for their new business or expansion of an existing business.  To use this form, please download, “Application for Business Owner Training.”

What is aspiring business owners taught in training sessions?

The training will consist of at least eight modules that are essential for the development of any business.  For a list of these modules, please download, “Business Owner Training Modules.”

What happens after potential business owners have completed their training sessions?

After business owners complete all training sessions, Micro-Enterprise Partnership volunteers invite them to write a business plan and complete a loan application.  Assistance and support in writing and completing these two items are part of the training sessions.

What happens after a potential business owner submits their business plan and loan application?

After aspiring business owners submit their documents, the loan committee of A Minnesota Without Poverty evaluates documents, renders a decision, and grants the requested loan or suggests revisions regarding the requested loan package.

What if someone has a bad credit record?

While credit records are important, the validity of the business plan and the learning attitude of the aspiring business owner are much more important.

How is the loan repaid and at what interest rate?

The loan and repayment terms are negotiated with the loan committee and the local Micro-Enterprise Partnership.  Generally, the loans carry a low 5% interest rate with a repayment time schedule (e.g. two to five years) that is considered realistic for the business developer.  In the event of repayment difficulties, loans may be restructured.  The main goal of the partnership is to help the business owner become successful in their business.

What happens to the loan money after the business developer repays it?

As the business owner(s) repay the loan or loans, the money goes back into the loan pool so the Micro-Enterprise Partnership volunteers can repeat the process with new aspiring business owners. All of the money remains in the community unless the local Micro-Enterprise Partnership decides not to continue the business development process.  If the community decides to not continue, A Minnesota Without Poverty only asks that the Micro-Enterprise Partnership repays the original $5,000 grant to A Minnesota Without Poverty so that it can use the funds in another community.

What is unique about this initiative?

  • Volunteers  in local communities provide the leadership for the initiative
  • Team building and relationship development are a crucial part of the process
  • Ongoing counsel and guidance are offered to new business owners by members of their own local community
  • This process is designed to not only develop businesses, but to develop, renew, and strengthen the entire community