Pathway to Success Small Business Grant

Enter Your Business by August 31, 2017

We’re looking for Twin Cities-based small businesses that are making a lasting impact on their
employees, customers, and neighbors.

Entrepreneurs can receive a grant of up to $5,000

Grant program funded by Wells Fargo Foundation
Non-financial support provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Program Sponsored by Pathway to Success Small Business Collaborative

(Saint Paul NAACP, Wells Fargo, Connect2Capital, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

Small Business Grant Information


What is the Pathway to Success Small Business Grant?
The Pathway to Success Small Business Grant Program—sponsored by the Pathway to Success Small Business Collaborative—will provide grants to three (3) small businesses: one grant of $5,000 and two grants of $2,500 each. Applicants will be evaluated based on a clear and compelling business story, positive community impact, and strategic use of grant proceeds. Grant funds can be used for: signage, technology, bookkeeping, and inventory. Other potential uses of funds may be considered.

Who may apply for the small business grant?
Any for-profit small business located within the city limits of Saint Paul or Minneapolis that has been in continuous operation selling a product or service for no less than one (1) year and has an annual revenue less than $200,000 is eligible to apply for the program. 

Is a nonprofit eligible for the grant program?
Nonprofits are not eligible to apply for the grant program.

Is a home-based or an online-only business eligible for the grant program?
Yes, so long as it meets the requirements detailed above.

What is the Pathway to Success Small Business Collaborative?
The Pathway to Success Small Business Collaborative is made up of Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), Wells Fargo, Saint Paul NAACP, Connect2Capital and Federal Reserve of Minneapolis. Its mission is to support small business owners and connect them with organizations, systems, and processes that support small business development. The collaborative operates on the belief that sound information and development services are vital to business viability.

What are the grant program dates?
The program begins to accept eligible applications on July 31, 2017, and closes on August 31, 2017, at 11:59 pm Central.

How many grants will be awarded?
There will be a total of three (3) grants:
  • Primary grant: One grant of $5,000
  • Secondary grants: Two grants of $2,500 each

Who is the contact person for the Pathway to Success Small Business Grant Program?
You can email questions to and he will get back to you within 2-3 business days.

Evaluation of Submissions

When does evaluation begin?
The evaluation period is September 1, 2017, to October 22, 2017.

How does the evaluation process work?
A panel of three judges, all economic development practitioners, will use the following criteria to choose finalists:

  • A clear, compelling, and engaging business story
  • The ability and focus of the business to create positive community impact
  • A strategic use of grant proceeds

When will grantees be announced?
The three grantees will be announced on October 23, 2017. Grantees will be notified by email and/or by phone using the contact information provided within the application. In addition, final grantees will be invited to attend an event hosted by the Pathway to Success Small Business Collaborative in late 2017.

How To Apply

How do I apply for the program?
Apply online today or download the grant application and submit the completed application to by August 31, 2017, at 11:59 pm Central.

Applications that do not include all of the required information will be disqualified. You are required to upload three (3) images that represent your business, with one (1) of those images being your business logo. Additionally, you will have to answer a few brief questions that will help the judging panel get to know you, your business, and why you should receive a grant.

What will I need to provide to apply for the grant program?

We will request the following:

  • Business Name and Contact Information (Business owner name, business name, business address, email, phone number, etc.)
  • Business Entity Type (Corporation, Partnership, LLC, Sole proprietorship, etc.)
  • Responses to the following questions:
    1. Briefly describe your business. What do you do, what do you sell, and what services do you offer? (1000 character limit without spaces)
    2. What inspired you to get into this business and how do you create impact within your community or neighborhood through your business model? (1000 character limit without spaces)
    3. How would you use the Small Business Grant Program funds to make a major impact within your business operations? (1000 character limit without spaces)
    4. Do you have a business mentor? YES/NO (Not having a business mentor does NOT disqualify a business owner.)
  • Three (3) images of your business or product (1 image must be your logo) in one of the following photo formats: .jpg, .png, .gif.
  • You must complete your application at the time you start it. If submitting your application via email, please use the following naming convention: name of business_name of owner_small business grant program. (example: Company 1234_John Doe_Small business grant program)

Deadline for applying
The deadline to apply is August 31, 2017, at 11:59:59 pm Central.

Confirmation receipt
The Pathway to Success Collaborative will review each application to ensure it has met all the requirements before forwarding to the judging panel. Applicants can expect an email by September 14, 2017, either confirming acceptance of the application into the grant program review process or notifying them that the application has been denied.

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