OWATONNA, MN – April 19, 2022 – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is pleased to announce the members of the first Prosperity Initiative cohort of 2022, a program which provides free coaching and training to minority entrepreneurs. Ten entrepreneurs have joined the first cohort.
Prosperity Initiative clients commit to a six-month period of working directly with an experienced business coach. Additionally, clients connect monthly with other entrepreneurs participating in the program through peer network meetings to discuss challenges and successes. All resources are free for participating businesses.
When the Prosperity Initiative was created in 2016, its mission was to help remove barriers to success for entrepreneurs who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC). This is the first year that the program has expanded its eligibility to also include entrepreneurs who identify as women, veterans, low-income and/or a person with disabilities. More than 80 clients have graduated from the program.
SMIF is pleased to welcome the following entrepreneurs to the first 2022 cohort:
• Adrian Dragomir-Daescu who plans to open Berserker Barbell, a strength-training gym focused on power lifting in Rochester.
• Eric Linningham who plans to open R.O.S.E.S. LLC, a food truck specializing in brunch food in Rochester.
• Guadalupe Quintero who plans to open Arte en Planta, a vintage sterling silver retail company in Mankato.
• Minnie Albadry, owner and operator of Jj’s Beauty Supply LLC, a multiethnic beauty supply store in Mankato.
• Monica Delgado, owner and operator of Cedel Store, a clothing store in St. James.
• Paige Jehnke, owner and operator of Janky Gear, an outdoor gear consignment store in Rochester.
• Raul Hi, owner and operator of MN Mobile Garage Door, a garage door repair and installation business in Mankato, serving southern Minnesota.
• Sam Hernandez Garcia, owner and operator of Joyful Sam’s Deliveries LLC, a transportation business in Rochester.
• Vineka L. Ross who plans to open Flo’s Hair on Fleek, a multicultural beauty supply store in Winona.
• Yolanda Morales, owner and operator of Morales Rebar LLC, a construction business tying rebar and reinforcing steel in the Mankato area.
“These entrepreneurs have an exciting blend of established businesses that are in a position to grow, and new businesses that are just getting started,” said Pam Bishop, vice president of economic development at SMIF. “We look forward to seeing how their experience in the Prosperity Initiative influences their business growth.”
The next round of applications for this program will open in August 2022. Contact Maddy Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org or (507) 214-7029 or visit smifoundation.org/prosperity for more information.
The Prosperity Initiative is supported, in part, by State of Minnesota through a grant from the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Partners in this program include Community Economic Development Associates (CEDA), Collider Foundation, Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research (HACER), Region Nine Development Commission, Merchants Bank – Winona, Minnesota Council of Churches – Tapestry Project and Development Corporation of Austin – Small Business Development Center.