Who We Are

About Us

Born out of a need to diversify industry on the Iron Range in the late 1980s, the Entrepreneur Fund was created with two main priorities: support entrepreneurs to start and grow small businesses that would create steady incomes for themselves and others, and to renew the entrepreneurial culture in the region.

Today, we stay true to our rural roots. While we have grown geographically and internally to meet the demand of our services, our commitment to serving rural communities remains steadfast.

“Rural businesses are typically severely underbanked, and there is also a
lack of services. Providing accessible capital and services for small businesses to sustain
and grow is critical to the health of rural communities and the regional economy.”
- Shawn Wellnitz, Entrepreneur Fund CEO and President.

Meet Our Team
Yasuko Holt
Owner of Zen House Japanese Restaurant in Duluth, MN


To actively partner with entrepreneurs to create growing businesses, thriving communities, and a diverse regional economy.


Vibrant communities across our region that are created and sustained by entrepreneurs.


Our Region

We focus on serving entrepreneurs and businesses located in 29 counties and 12 Native nations that share geography with Minnesota and Wisconsin. Our team members live and work in the communities they serve, which helps us better understand and support the needs of small business owners in our communities.

Our Service Region Includes:


Crow Wing
Mille Lacs
St. Louis




Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Forest County Potawatomi
Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Sokaogon Chippewa (Mole Lake)
St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
Map showing the areas served by eFund in Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, highlighting various Native Nations and counties. Native Nations are marked with green shapes, Minnesota counties are labeled in a darker yellow, and Wisconsin counties in a lighter yellow. The map includes Lake Superior to the northeast. Prominent Native Nations such as the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and others are marked in Minnesota. In Wisconsin, the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and the Forest County Potawatomi are indicated, among others. A compass rose is in the top right corner, and the eFund logo is on the bottom right. The bottom left text states 'Where We Serve' with a subtitle 'Proudly supporting businesses across northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.' The map key indicates Native Nations in green, Minnesota counties in dark yellow, and Wisconsin counties in light yellow.
Efund Green Logo
A professionally dressed group of four people at the eFund Destination Awards event. On the far left is a woman with long dark hair in a yellow blouse and black pants, next to her is another woman with blonde hair in a black suit. In the center is a man with short brown hair, wearing a light gray suit, red tie, and an orange lapel pin, and to the far right is a man with short brown hair and glasses, dressed in a navy blue suit with a blue tie. They are all smiling and standing confidently in an event hall, which is decorated with string lights overhead and greenery along the aisle. The background features an illuminated stage with a large screen, indicating the setting is a formal awards ceremony.

We Are a CDFI Organization

Community development financial institutions (CDFI) are private financial institutions that are 100% dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help underserved people and communities access financial services.

As a CDFI, we are mission-driven and focused on addressing the needs of business owners in our region who have limited access to the financial support they deserve. Access to these lending and advising services increases entrepreneurial wealth, creates thriving communities, and leads to greater economic prosperity.

Learn More about CDFIs