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Current Work

Equitable Business Development

Currently, the i-team is partnering with the Community Planning and Economic Development Department (CPED) in investigating how the City can support and increase minority and immigrant business ownership and success in Minneapolis. Despite being the fastest growing segment of new business owners and representing 40 percent of Minneapolis residents, people of color only own 22 percent of businesses in Minneapolis. Through research on racial disparities in business ownership and engagement with business owners of color in Minneapolis, the i-team has narrowed its focus to four key challenge areas where we are facilitating further exploration and solution development.

Partnering with The Innovation Team extended our capacity to accomplish a program evaluation, giving us key insights about how we can maximize our work to help small businesses succeed in the City of Minneapolis.”

– Daniel Bonilla, Senior Project Coordinator, CPED

Challenge Areas

Expanding access to capital

Access to financial, knowledge, and social capital have major implications for entrepreneurs starting, running, and growing businesses. In partnership with CPED, the i-team is helping design several new programs that connect entrepreneurs and small business owners of color with the capital they need to be successful.

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Clarifying city process

Navigating the regulatory process and connecting with supportive resources can be challenging for new businesses and immigrant and minority entrepreneurs. The i-team is developing an online business portal to centralize resources and provide a road map of the regulatory process for opening and running a business in Minneapolis.

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Increasing commercial affordability

While commercial affordability has an impact on all small businesses, entrepreneurs of color face particular challenges in accessing affordable commercial space in Minneapolis. The i-team is working alongside City staff to identify new ways to create and maintain commercial affordability throughout the City.

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Addressing neighborhood conditions

The conditions of neighborhoods - such as high crime, poor lighting, and lack of infrastructure - where minority and immigrant businesses are located can limit the long-term success of those businesses. The i-team is identifying how the City can invest in physical environments that help small businesses thrive in all neighborhoods.

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