Biz Buzz: Entrepreneurs offered opportunity, training to create business plan and get funding

Have an idea for a business? A 12-week course focused in Brainerd is providing a way to make it happen. Deadline to apply is Aug. 20.


Entrepreneurs have an opportunity for one-on-one training and 12 weeks of classes in a full area of skill building designed to help them build their own business plans.

Starting this fall, this opportunity is coming to Brainerd with a focus on helping those with a business dream reach a “realistic business plan roadmap.”

To that end, once a week classes will look at what those entrepreneurs will need with virtual classes and access to funding.

“The Enterprise Academy is supported by a lending program and provides access to credit for businesses owners who may not be able to access traditional sources of capital, including culturally tailored lending,” the Initiative Foundation, based in Little Falls, reported. “Direct loans are possible in amounts up to $50,000 for successful graduates of our Enterprise Academy Entrepreneur Training Class or to our Business Services and Technical Assistance clients who create a realistic and robust business plan. Enterprise Academy program borrowers may also be able to access larger loan amounts through our traditional gap lending program , which requires a lead lender such as a bank or credit union”

Enterprise Academy application deadline is Aug. 20.


“The Initiative Foundation believes in the drive and daring of local entrepreneurs to transform their lives and contribute to the revitalization of their communities,” the foundation stated in regard to the academy. “The Enterprise Academy, following the Entrepreneur Development Model pioneered by the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) and its Build From Within Alliance, provides training, lending and one-one-one advising services to start and grow vital small businesses.”

The Initiative Foundation is partnering with the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center and others in the region to bring the Enterprise Academy to Brainerd in September. The Initiative Foundation reportes the centerpiece of the program is 12 weeks of classroom time on accounting, finance, marketing, branding, management and operations, budgets, bookkeeping, cash flow and taxes, “but the program is much deeper and broader, and it's all predicated on the idea of reaching people/audiences that are particularly underserved. The Brainerd cohort would focus on the River-to-Rails corridor and Brainerd's legacy downtown districts.”

Classes are once per week for 12 weeks, starting virtually with the potential to move to in-class sessions depending on the coronavirus, and feature training specifically tailored to the participants, with one-on-one assistance available to help create a realistic business plan, according to the Foundation’s website. Go to for a link to the application page.

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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