The Entrepreneur Fund Receives $150K PRIME Grant to Support Micro-Entrepreneurs

Duluth, Minnesota – The Entrepreneur Fund has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Small Business Administration (SBA), specifically for the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME). This grant will allow the Entrepreneur Fund to provide programming and services for disadvantaged entrepreneurs in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin who are focusing on growing small businesses.
“We are proud and excited to be receiving a PRIME grant to help our region’s emerging entrepreneurs,” said Shawn Wellnitz, Entrepreneur Fund CEO. “Successful small business is a key indicator of a healthy community and a strong economy. The PRIME grant will allow us to assist even more entrepreneurs across the region.”

Socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs face unique challenges when it comes to business growth. The SBA’s PRIME grants are designed to help these entrepreneurs access the assistance they need to establish and expand their small businesses. Including the Entrepreneur Fund, this year’s 32 recipients in 24 states and the District of Columbia will receive grants ranging from $75,000 to $250,000, totaling $5 million. In total, 111 organizations applied for PRIME grants for 2018.
The PRIME grant will help the Entrepreneur Fund target services to rural counties and distressed urban areas to drive growth of business revenues, personal incomes of the owner and access to small business financing.

The SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those that service entrepreneurs in rural areas and historically underutilized business zones (HubZones).

PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in the Micro-Entrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds were made available on September 30, 2018, and the project period for each grant is one year. For more information on the SBA’s PRIME grants and for a list of this year’s grantees, go online to


About The Entrepreneur Fund

The Entrepreneur Fund is the resource for entrepreneurs in northeast Minnesota, central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. The Entrepreneur Fund has fueled more than 14,000 businesses with expert support and funded over $48 million in loans since 1989. The Entrepreneur Fund is dedicated to strengthening entrepreneurship in the region, while also supporting and increasing economic development. Through this strategic approach, the Entrepreneur Fund promotes the entrepreneurial spirit and helps create economic wealth and diversity in northeast Minnesota, central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. For more information, visit