Urban Initiative Loan Program


The Urban Initiative Loan Program was created to support the growth of minority owned and operated businesses and to create jobs in economically distressed areas of the Twin Cities. DEED provides grant funds to a network of nonprofit lenders which use these funds for loans to start-up and expanding businesses.


Start-up and expansion costs, including normal expenses such as machinery and equipment, inventory and receivables, working capital, new construction, renovation, and site acquisition are eligible for the program. Financing of existing debt is not permitted. Businesses eligible for loans include technologically innovative industries, value-added manufacturing, and information industries. It will not, however, make loans to liquor stores, taverns or saloons, businesses primarily selling tobacco products, or adult entertainment businesses.

Project Requirements

Project must demonstrate potential to create jobs for low-income people; be unable to obtain sufficient capital from traditional private lenders; and demonstrate the potential to succeed. Businesses must be located in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Columbia Heights, Coates, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Lauderdale, Lexington, Mendota, Miesville, New Germany, New Brighton, New Hope, Newport, Richfield, Spring Lake Park, South St. Paul, and West St. Paul.

Terms & Interest 

Interest rate is between 2 percent and the Prime Rate plus 4 percent. Terms are generally consistent with other sources of project financing. Each nonprofit has authority to determine specific interest rate and collateral requirements.

Micro enterprises, including retail businesses, may apply for up to $25,000. Businesses that are seeking more than $25,000 will be required to find private financing to match the state’s investment. The maximum Urban Initiative investment in any one business is $150,000.

For More Information

For questions or a referral to an appropriate certified partner organization, contact Abdullahi Mohamed, (651) 259-7456.

Funding Awards Map

Business Finance Awards

Use this interactive map to see where Urban Initiative Loan Program projects are located. You can see the amount of the awards, project costs, new jobs created, average wages and more for each project and download the data.

View the funding awards map. It will open in a new window.

Data for other DEED business finance programs is also available.

Application Process

Applications are accepted on a year-round basis. Businesses apply with a certified Urban Initiative lender selected by the state. The application forms and process will differ between lenders.

The underwriting process and credit decision is generally left to each lender’s discretion. If approved the lending organization requests the release of funds from its DEED account.

DEED reviews the project proposal to ensure that it meets the general parameters of the program, but generally it does not conduct a second credit review. The Commissioner of DEED is required to approve each proposal.

Urban Initiative funds are then released to the participating organizations which executes the appropriate loan documents.

Program Certified Partners

The organizations listed below are current participants in the Urban Initiative Program. These organizations serve different communities and areas of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

African Development Center
Nasibu Savera 
1931 South 5th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 333-4772

Central Minnesota Development Company
Scott Shake
Suite A
1885 Station Parkway
Andover MN 55304
(763) 784-3337

Metropolitan Economic Development Association
Jan Jordet
Suite 106
250 South Second Avenue
Minneapolis MN 55401
(612) 332-6332

Milestone Growth Fund
Judy Romlin 
Suite 106 
250 South Second Avenue
Minneapolis MN 55401 
(612) 338-0090

Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers
David Chapman
3137 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis MN 55407
(612) 789-7337

Neighborhood Development Center
Brian Singer
663 University Avenue #200
St. Paul MN 55104
(651) 291-2480

Jason Burak
2021 E. Hennepin Ave., Ste. 200 
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 224-9540

Annual Reports

Urban Initiative Annual Report and Appendixes
Select from the links below to view, download or print our latest annual report and supplementary information.