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Small Business Grants in Minnesota

The new Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota was recently published by Department of Employment and Economic Development. This is a 352-page book details everything you should know about starting and running a business in the state. You can view and download it here

At MBMentors we get asked by a lot of people about getting grants from the state or federal government to start a business. There is a lot of miscommunication, scams, and false information about government grants or guides to government grants. And unfortunately the trend is growing through Internet spam and telemarketing. All of these offers are built on the false idea that individuals are eligible to receive thousands of "unclaimed" dollars from the government-money that can be used for almost anything, including personal expenses or starting a business.

Television ads and Internet sites use the word "grant" to describe any kind of payment from the government. Most of the "hidden government money" comes from public assistance for low-income families, the elderly or the disabled. These are largely entitlement programs-not competitive grants. For individual benefit programs, the federal government provides comprehensive information at,, and In reality, both federal and state governments make their investments primarily through direct loans - not grants to individual businesses or through grants to third-party organizations that use the funds for loan programs for end-user businesses.

There are a few grant programs from the the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development that make grants directly to businesses. They include the following:

  • The Minnesota Job Creation Fund

  • Launch Minnesota Program

  • Export Financing Programs

  • The State Trade and Export Promotion Program

  • The Dairy Business Planning Grants

  • Specialty Crop Grants of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture;

  • Environmental Assistance Grants of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Information on the above can be found in the newly published guide or online at LaunchMN

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