Application for Small Businesses Round 1 Closed - Donations Still Accepted

In 24 hours, we received over 100 applications for this grant program. We will continue efforts to raise funds in hopes of reopening this. As of 4/23/20, the grant application has been closed. 


Duluth, Minnesota – {Wednesday, April 22, 2020}: The Entrepreneur Fund, Northland Foundation, and The Northspan Group, Inc. are pleased to announce they are accepting grant applications for its recently-formed Small Business Relief Fund. The three partners developed the fund in response to COVID-19 and intend to provide grants up to $5,000 to regional small business owners facing significant financial challenges resulting from the pandemic.

The Entrepreneur Fund launched the Small Business Relief Fund in March 2020 with an open call to individual donors to seed the fund. Minnesota Power made a generous donation of $10,000 to kick off the fund and individual donors brought in an additional $3,000. The Entrepreneur Fund, Northland Foundation, and Northspan jointly applied for and received $50,000 from the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund from the Minnesota Council on Foundations to assist businesses in the seven-county region of northeast Minnesota.

  • The Small Business Relief Fund will provide direct grants up to $5,000 to small business owners in northeast Minnesota, central Minnesota, and northwest Wisconsin. The review committee will prioritize grants to:
  • Be an existing small business, less than 5 FTEs, AND during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Federal Government Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) does not fit
  • Business affected by the disaster (all businesses; not only those included in the State of MN executive order.
  • Priority will be given to those businesses that serve as a core community staple such as rural/community grocery stores, restaurants, downtown/main street retail or hospitality, etc.
  • Fund review committee determination that the available grants will make a discernible impact on the sustainability of the business.
  • Timing is of the essence for disbursement of funds.

As business needs are identified, these grants could be paired with other resources, such as consulting guidance to manage the effects of the pandemic, as well as financial resources that may include flexible working capital loans from the Entrepreneur Fund and other local, state, and federal resources that become available.

Donation Options and Details

As a donor, you can make a tax-deductible contribution to the Fund, and if you wish, you may designate it to a specific county**, though we do ask you to consider supporting with an unrestricted gift so we can remain flexible in responding to our region’s needs. Either way, your help is critical.

The Entrepreneur Fund is a 501c3 organization and can accept gifts of cash/check, appreciated stock, IRA charitable rollovers, and real estate.

You can give online or contact Development Director Janie Moore at (218) 623-5735 or development@entrepreneurfund.org  to discuss your giving options.

*Our service area includes Aitkin, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Cook, Crow Wing, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, St. Louis, Stearns and Todd Counties in Minnesota and Douglas County in Wisconsin. 

**If you would like your donation designated for one county, please send an email to development@entrepreneurfund.org  with the county or counties of choice.  

Make A Donation

Small Business Relief Fund (Northeast & Central Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin)

by Entrepreneur Fund


Application for Small Businesses Round 1 Closed - Donations Still Accepted

In 24 hours, we received over 100 applications for this grant program. We will continue efforts to raise funds in hopes of reopening this. As of 4/23/20, the grant application has been closed. 


Duluth, Minnesota – {Wednesday, April 22, 2020}: The Entrepreneur Fund, Northland Foundation, and The Northspan Group, Inc. are pleased to announce they are accepting grant applications for its recently-formed Small Business Relief Fund. The three partners developed the fund in response to COVID-19 and intend to provide grants up to $5,000 to regional small business owners facing significant financial challenges resulting from the pandemic.

The Entrepreneur Fund launched the Small Business Relief Fund in March 2020 with an open call to individual donors to seed the fund. Minnesota Power made a generous donation of $10,000 to kick off the fund and individual donors brought in an additional $3,000. The Entrepreneur Fund, Northland Foundation, and Northspan jointly applied for and received $50,000 from the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund from the Minnesota Council on Foundations to assist businesses in the seven-county region of northeast Minnesota.

  • The Small Business Relief Fund will provide direct grants up to $5,000 to small business owners in northeast Minnesota, central Minnesota, and northwest Wisconsin. The review committee will prioritize grants to:
  • Be an existing small business, less than 5 FTEs, AND during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Federal Government Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) does not fit
  • Business affected by the disaster (all businesses; not only those included in the State of MN executive order.
  • Priority will be given to those businesses that serve as a core community staple such as rural/community grocery stores, restaurants, downtown/main street retail or hospitality, etc.
  • Fund review committee determination that the available grants will make a discernible impact on the sustainability of the business.
  • Timing is of the essence for disbursement of funds.

As business needs are identified, these grants could be paired with other resources, such as consulting guidance to manage the effects of the pandemic, as well as financial resources that may include flexible working capital loans from the Entrepreneur Fund and other local, state, and federal resources that become available.

Donation Options and Details

As a donor, you can make a tax-deductible contribution to the Fund, and if you wish, you may designate it to a specific county**, though we do ask you to consider supporting with an unrestricted gift so we can remain flexible in responding to our region’s needs. Either way, your help is critical.

The Entrepreneur Fund is a 501c3 organization and can accept gifts of cash/check, appreciated stock, IRA charitable rollovers, and real estate.

You can give online or contact Development Director Janie Moore at (218) 623-5735 or development@entrepreneurfund.org  to discuss your giving options.

*Our service area includes Aitkin, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Cook, Crow Wing, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, St. Louis, Stearns and Todd Counties in Minnesota and Douglas County in Wisconsin. 

**If you would like your donation designated for one county, please send an email to development@entrepreneurfund.org  with the county or counties of choice.