The Micro Grants Program supports micro food businesses in Minnesota that are owned by entrepreneurs of color, women, veterans and/or individuals demonstrating socio-economic barriers to equitable participation in business – especially the packaged food industry.
Possible Uses of Funds
Micro-grants range from $500 to $5000 - a one-time award. The uses for micro-grants are flexible and open – but we are looking for proposals that have specific and identified uses that can propel the business to the next level – “whatever that next level” may mean for the business. This may be to help address a unique challenge in the industry for the business or a one-time and critical business opportunity that a micro grant of this amount can have a critical impact on.
Uses of funds are not for activities that are typical and ongoing for general business, such as: staffing, rent, branding/marketing; general planning, coaching, and mentoring; bookkeeping and other typical/general business activities.
The Application Approach
To minimize the burden on applicants in our approach to allocating resources, especially in the communities where resources are already limited, we work hard to adhere to these principles: simple and user-friendly; open, inclusive and responsive to business/community needs; do the most good or have the most impact on the business; and steward well the funds from our donors.
A diverse, community-based committee with individuals who have experience in small businesses, grant reviews and/or the food and beverage industry will review the grant applications and help decide grant awards.
The application is a simple fillable PDF, downloadable below, and asks for a a short narrative to three specific questions about your business. Completed application should be about 3-4 pages. Submit your application to: firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than June 30, 2022. Download and Save the fillable application form before you start working on it. All parts of the application must be completed. Incomplete applications will not be acceptable.
Key Dates (tentative)
Application Opens: April 29, 2022
Application Closes: June 30, 2022 (tentative)
Information Webinar: May 10, 2022
Application Review: July 2022
Grant Decisions & Announcement: August 2022
Grant Agreements & Disbursements: September - October 2022
Red Wing - Cannon Valley Butcher's Block (CVBB) is a growing meat and butchery company. Founder Sarah Scheub, started CVBB three years ago because she wanted to share the magic and reality of food production with her community. She believes when you have a hand in producing and harvesting the food that nourishes your body, you can begin to honor the life that sustains you.
Grant Purpose: jumpstart CVBB’s plan to build a grain feed storage infrastructure.
Minneapolis - Founder Florence Karp (also known as Chef Flo-K) was born into a food business, growing up with her mother having a Buka (restaurant) in Nigeria. Later, she ran her own catering business in Nigeria. Today, Chef Flo-K manufactures delicious Afric Sauce, an authentic, traditional African sauce and supplies restaurants, wholesale industries, public and private food institutions.
Grant Purpose: enable a co-manufacturing partnership to meet large volume demands.
Owatanna - Founder Abel Tekeste, created Hiwet Products to introduce culturally-inspired teff-based products. Teff, often associated with the flatbread Injera, has a wide range of applications. With Hiwet Products, he hopes to highlight the versatility and value of this “wonder grain.” Hiwet Products is named after Abel’s grandmother—an entrepreneur who introduced him to agriculture.
Grant Purpose: support the development of teff-based pasta and nutritional bars.
Brooklyn Park - Founder Junita Flowers, started with cookie recipes that have been in her family for decades. Inspired by the Founder’s personal journey, Junita’s Jar has a goal of building a national distribution and profitable cookie company that will spread a message of hope to all, and in particular to women and girls experiencing domestic violence.
Grant Purpose: enable the ability to explore and secure a co-manufacturing partnership to meet high volume demands.
Minneapolis - Founder Gustavo Romero Veytia and his wife hand made tortillas with heirloom Mexican corn and a comal. During the pandemic, they made meals accompanied with the tortillas and delivered them to homes. Today, Nixta makes the same tortillas, packaged for resale at local stores, on top of running their own tortilleria and Mexican takeout.
Grant Purpose: support a plan to purchase a commercial vacuum sealer that will extend the shelf-life of the packaged tortillas.
Maplewood - For Founder Beauclarc Thomas, healthy living has always been important. Through Pure Ginger for You, he and his team cold press organic ginger juices blended with the fresh vegetable ingredients that are bottled and shipped to local stores. The ginger juice blend provides a revitalized and invigorated feel.
Grant Purpose: enable higher scale of production by acquiring additional juicing equipment.
Minneapolis - Founder Rachel Banken, crafts loose-leaf herbal teas from foraged botanicals found on local farms and forests native to Minnesota. Well Rooted Teas infusions of herbs, roots, leaves, fruits and berries nourish the body and are grown and harvested in a manner that promotes the health of our environment. Rachel believes in the healing power of plants and provides 10% of her revenue to environmental sustainability initiatives.
Grant Purpose: purchase and establish a more efficient and effective drying process in tea blending.
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