Elevate Business Academy, launched in Kandiyohi County, awarded state grant

The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission was awarded a $76,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to help fund the Elevate Business Academy.

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WILLMAR — A Small Business Partnership Grant, from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, will not only assist in funding the Elevate Business Academy, but also pave the way for a series of educational forums to assist small business owners.

The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission , which started the Elevate Business Academy in 2021, was awarded a $76,000 grant, the goal of which is to fund programs that promote entrepreneurs and small businesses in Minnesota, according to a news release from the EDC.

"This grant allows us to invest in the long-term sustainability and continued success of Elevate," said Sarah Swedburg, EDC business development manager. "We are thrilled to continue supporting our hardworking entrepreneurs in the county."

With the grant, the EDC will also be able to work with the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission to host educational forums to help small business owners develop best practices related to specific business topics.

According to the release, Elevate is the first and only Community Business Academy in the state, and provides business education and coaching opportunities for underserved minority entrepreneurs. The academy is a partnership between the EDC, Southwest Initiative Foundation and Rising Tide Capital.


The first Elevate Academy class graduated in June 2021. The second 12-week course started in September and will conclude in December.

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