Northern Minnesota Business Development Assistance

Federal is your gateway to Federal loan information, brought to you through a partnership between Federal agencies and; the official government loans website. MBDA (Minority Business Development Agency) MBDA is not a funding source and does not give grants. MBDA provides referrals and assistance to minority businesses to obtain capital for the businesses. Loans are the most common form of financing.


Job Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ) Program

St. Louis County was approved for JOBZ status to provide expanding businesses with the opportunity to qualify for tax exemptions. The purpose of the program is to revitalize economically distressed areas by creating tax exempt zones that will attract jobs, business and people to rural communities. Approved in January, 2004, JOBZ provides for tax exemptions to qualified businesses, within a designated zone for a maximum of 12 years. Qualified businesses are exempted from the corporate franchise tax; income tax for business operators or investors; sales tax on goods and services used in the zone and property tax on improvements but not on land. Also included is an employment tax credit for high paying jobs.

The Minnesota Investment Fund (651-259-7430)

Assists expanding businesses in creating and retaining high quality jobs, with an emphasis on manufacturing, technology and professional service employment. Grants are awarded to local governments which, in turn, make loans for specific business projects or finance public infrastructure improvements.

The Small Business Development Loan Program (651-259-7430)

Provides loans to industrial, manufacturing or agricultural processing businesses for land acquisition, building construction or renovation, machinery and equipment. Projects must enhance the local tax base and create or retain jobs.

Regional & Local

Iron Range Resources

Iron Range Resources is a state agency that was founded with the mission to diversify the economy of northeastern Minnesota. The agency receives their funding through taconite production taxes and utilizes this funding to provide economic development in the Taconite Assistance Area.

The vision of economic diversification has remained constant since the agency's founding in 1941, the tactics used to help achieve diversification have varied. Largely, these efforts have reflected the times. In the 1940s for instance, the agency focused on taconite development and mining research. In the 1960s, business development was an important tool employed by the agency. Today, the agency's efforts are more varied than ever. While business development and mining are still key, the agency is also focused on areas like workforce, community development, mineland reclamation and tourism.

Iron Range Resources, in combination with its regional development and private sector partners, will assist qualified businesses put together a flexible financial package that addresses their capital needs. Examples of possible assistance from the agency and its partners can include - low cost debt with favorable repayment terms for capital expenditures, "built-to-suit" production space with favorable lease terms, equity capital and, in limited cases, grants to assist growth needs. The area also offers a wide variety of technical assistance from the preparation of business plans to process engineering issues.

For further detail on the Taconite Assistance Area and Iron Range Resources, please visit their website at

Northland Foundation

About the Grant Program

Through innovative programs designed to meet social, economic, and human needs, dedicated nonprofit organizations throughout northeastern Minnesota strive to strengthen the very fiber of their communities. The Northland Foundation is a willing partner in that work.

The Grant Program provides financial and technical resources to tax-exempt nonprofits located in Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis Counties. Support is directed toward three specific areas of interest to help individuals, families, and communities throughout the region to grow and prosper.

The first step in securing a grant is to speak with Grant Program staff to determine if the project is a promising candidate for Northland Foundation funding. For more information, please contact our Program Manager at (218) 723-4040 or 1-800-433-4045.

Northeast Entrepreneur Fund

The loan fund is a flexible source of business financing for start-up and existing businesses.  Loans range from $1,000 to $100,000.

The Northeast Entrepreneur Fund offers flexible, small business loans of up to $35,000 to start-up entrepreneurs with a variety of loan products up to $100,000 to existing businesses and experienced entrepreneurs.

Northeast Entrepreneur Fund can be the sole lender or can partner with banks, the Small Business Administration, or other economic development institutions to provide gap financing for businesses.

Other Resources