Business Assistance Programs  –  GRANTS & ZERO PERCENT LOANS

Existing Businesses 

1. SEMMCHRA GRANT/LOAN Program: Deferred loan to grant program to assist commercial property owners with building rehab projects. The funds can be used to improve the front façade, increase energy efficiency, improve accessibility, and address code-related issues. Contact Karen

2. PACE LOAN: No upfront cost – PACE brings value to Minnesota commercial building owners by improving their bottom line. PACE can cover 100 percent of all project costs. Going forward, payments with low interest are repaid through a special property tax assessment with terms up to 20 years. As a result, projects become cash positive with financial savings outweighing financial burden. To learn more about PACE financing nationwide, go to

New businesses or startups 

2. Emerging Entrepreneur Loan Program: DEED relies on a continued partnership with more than 20 nonprofits in delivering this program – with its annual appropriation – to reach as many eligible entrepreneurs as possible. It received $1 million in additional funding during this legislative session.

    • Who should apply: businesses based in Minnesota and owned and operated by one or more Minnesota residents who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color, low-income persons, women, veterans and/or persons with disabilities.
    • Applications are continually accepted. Businesses must apply directly with a certified lender, although DEED may be able to assist in identifying an appropriate lender.
    • Learn more
    •  Contact the local Port Authority Staff-Cathy Enerson to learn about layering loan funds: Local Port Authority Loans, Bank Loans, PACE Loans, and State of MN funding.
    • Wabasha your State of MN Direct Lending Partners for Entrepreneur Development Include:
      • For Child Care Entrepreneurs:  Visit website-First Children’s Finance Teri Steckelberg, Business Development Manager-Minnesota; Phone: (612) 279-6526 Email: Teri Steckelberg Area Served: Minnesota Focus: Child Care Services available (through interpreter) in non-English languages: Somali, Spanish
      • For All Entrepreneurs beyond local support layer on loans from:  Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation Marcia Haley, SBA Lending Director Phone: (507) 214-7021 Email: Marcia Haley 525 Florence Avenue Owatonna, MN 55060 Area Served: Southeast and South Central Minnesota – Blue Earth, Brown, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, LeSueur, Martin, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Rice, Sibley, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca Layer on a Loan using the PACE Program
      • Contact local Port Authority Director Cathy Enerson to discuss loans and grants.  Email: Cathy Enerson

3. Launch Minnesota: These are targeted to the most promising innovative scalable technology businesses in Minnesota. The Minnesota Legislature reauthorized funding at $1.5 million for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Innovation Grants include:

      • Business operations: These grants provide up to $35,000 for business operations, including research and development, direct business expenses and technical assistance.
      • SBIR/STTR Matching Grant: These grants are for first time Phase I and Phase II awardees and will be based on sliding scale of their Federal award (up to $35,000 for Phase I awards and up to $50,000 for Phase II awards).
        • Who should apply: Firms or entrepreneurs whose primary business activity is in innovative technology or in an innovative business model or product, with business operations and headquarters  located in Minnesota, and have not been in operation for more than 10 years. Business has generated less than $1 million in revenue since inception . Businesses are eligible to receive one of each grant over the two-year period. Increased consideration is given to startups located in Greater Minnesota, as well as businesses owned by women, veterans, and/or owners who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).
        • Learn more

4. Angel Tax Credit: Through the Angel Tax Credit, eligible Minnesota entrepreneurs exchange equity in their fledgling companies for capital from investors to help their startups grow. In return, investors get tax credits equal to a certain percentage of the investment.

        • Who should apply: Businesses that are headquartered in Minnesota, have a minimum of 51% of employees, 51% of payroll, and 51% of the value of current service contracts performed in Minnesota, have fewer than 25 employees, and meet additional eligibility qualifications.
        • Applying for the Angel Tax Credit is a four-step process for businesses seeking investment
        • Learn more

5. The State Small Business Credit Initiative

          • Description of this program: The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) is part of the American Rescue Act (ARPA) of 2021 and included $10 billion for state, territory and tribal business finance programs. Minnesota is expected to receive at least $75 million for state small business financing support. Initial planning has begun and outreach events will be announced soon. Minnesota will be submitting an application for funds once the U.S. Department of Treasury issues official program guidance this summer/fall. The application must be submitted by December 11, 2021 and funds will be awarded once Treasury approves the application in 2022.
          • This program is not yet available.
          • No application information is available at this time
          • Learn more

5. Minnesota Investment Fund – loans for economic development projects that create jobs.