The Entrepreneur Fund and the Women’s Alliance

about the entrepreneur Fund

At the Entrepreneur Fund we believe that entrepreneurship is the backbone to vibrant communities across our region. For 30 years we have actively partnered with entrepreneurs and communities to help start and grow businesses because when we support our small businesses, our local communities thrive.  

Our strategic programs, one-on-one business advising and flexible financing improves business performance and the capacity of entrepreneurs to achieve growth and start new ventures. We ensure that talent, jobs and wealth stay in the region—and often make a global impact. 

In 2020, the Entrepreneur Fund served a total of 1817 clients through programming, business advising and/or financing.  

  • 70% of those clients identify as women.  

  • 57% of those clients reside in rural communities

about the women's Alliance

About the Women’s Business Alliance  

A program of the Entrepreneur Fund, the Women’s Business Alliance enables and empowers women entrepreneurs through access to trainings, small business advising and networking opportunitiesNo matter where you are at on your business development journey, we provide resources specific to women that support strategies for professional and business growth. Whether you are just getting started or prepared to grow, the Alliance provides expertise and support for women entrepreneurs in northeast and central Minnesota, and northwest Wisconsin.  

did you know?

  • Just 25% of women business owners seek business financing.  
  • Women entrepreneurs ask for about $35,000 less in business financing than men.  
  • Women receive just 7% of venture funds for their start-ups.  
  • Private tech companies led by women achieve 35% higher ROI.  
  • 62% of women entrepreneurs claim that their business is their primary source of income.  
  • 57.4% of SBA Microloans went to women entrepreneurs in 2019 (the Entrepreneur Fund is a SBA Microloan lender!)   

Impact stories

Lifestone Health Care, Proctor, MN  |  Dr. Chiamaka Enemouh 

Aging populations require specialized but caring medical attention. Dr. Chiamaka Enemuoh founded Lifestone Health Care Assisted Living in 2014 to provide clients with reliable, respectful and rock-solid health care in a home-like setting. 

As a Certified Nurse Practitioner with over 15 years of experience in healthcare and an additional degree in Business Administration, Dr. Enemuoh provides exceptional hands-on care while running a successful business – and after just one year in operation, she needed a larger facility and staff to meet growing demand. 

Dr. Enemuoh began working with the Women’s Business Alliance in Duluth, forging connections and building a strong network of support that is essential to entrepreneurship. Those relationships led to accessing Entrepreneur Fund financing, which she used to purchase and renovate a new location for Lifestone Health Care Assisted Living. A Small Business Alliance (SBA) Microloan allowed Dr. Enemuoh to: 

  • Expand into a new, 10-bed facility, increasing the number of patients who could receive care significantly 
  • Grow her qualified team of caregivers and double annual gross revenue 
  • Connect with like-minded women business owners 

Thanks to Dr. Enemuoh’s dedication to excellence and hands-on leadership, Lifestone Health Care Assisted Living has become one of the Duluth area’s premier assisted living facilities. A highly qualified team is ready to tackle complex health needs to improve the quality of life for all in their care. 

24hr Bookkeeper Hibbing, MN |  Karine Woodman  

When you think of Hibbing, Minnesota, “award-winning business consulting” may not come to mind – but it should. Karine Woodman, of 24hr Bookkeeper, has built a globally recognized accounting services firm located right in the heart of Hibbing. 

Woodman founded 24hr Bookkeeper to help businesses on the Iron Range manage accounting, payroll and QuickBooks. Fast-forward seven years and the team provides consulting services to businesses across the nation. 24hr Bookkeeper has positioned itself to clients in all industries, but finds majority of their clientele are in the construction, professional services, healthcare and hospitality industries. 

Woodman worked with the Entrepreneur Fund, assisting and facilitating training with their clients in the areas of QuickBooks and financial services. Soon after her facilitation began, Woodman started working with an Entrepreneur Fund business advisor for her own company. She knew the level she wanted to bring her business to, and found value in the advice and guidance she was receiving from her business advisor. Having support from someone with actual small-business experience helped Woodman systemize her operations and streamline 24hr Bookkeeper’s fast-paced growth. 

24hr Bookkeeper is a perfect example that living in a smaller town doesn’t (and shouldn’t) limit a business owner’s potential for success. Networking, getting your business out there and embracing technological approaches to conducting business, allows entrepreneurs to grow their business well beyond their expectations. 

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