Local Partner Spotlights

Entrepreneur Fund

August 1, 2021

National Bank of Commerce:  

NBC is a strong supporter of small business in the region and long-time partner of the Entrepreneur Fund. Recently they generously made a gift of $250,000 in loan capital to our ENVEST Capital Campaign. The Entrepreneur Fund’s ENVEST Capital Campaign was a unique philanthropic opportunity that advanced entrepreneurship and elevated business growth in our community. 

“NBC and their leadership recognized the vision and opportunity of our capital campaign – what it means for small businesses, our community, and the regional economy. NBC was the early catalyst that made the campaign possible.” - Shawn Wellnitz, CEO of the Entrepreneur Fund 

With NBC’s help, the Entreprenur Fund successfully closed the ENVEST Capital Campaign, turning $2.5 million into $25 million for regional entrepreneurs by maximizing every ENVESTMENT.  

NBC also continues to be a strong referral partner and many EF clients “graduate” to become NBC clients.  

Itasca Economic Development Corporation: EF and IEDC are longtime partners in promoting the small business community in Itasca County. In addition to a partnership agreement to co-locate offices and cross-refer clients, we also supported the management of the Itasca Small Business Relief Fund that provided $1.16 Million in direct pandemic relief to 61 small businesses.  

Duluth Economic Development Authority: In the City of Duluth, DEDA has been a strong partner during the COVID-19 pandemic. DEDA supported EF with grant and loan capital when it was needed most in the early days of the pandemic. The $400,000 Duluth Small Business Emergency Fund provided working capital loans to 23 businesses who were kept afloat during such uncertain times. 

Northland Foundation: The Northland Foundation has been a partner to EF for many years. In addition to being a CDFI peer, Northland has supported EF through loan capital and was an early partner in launching the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund.

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