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SMIF receives pledges and donations for Entrepreneur Fund

The Chatfield News of Chatfield, Minnesota

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Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is committed to supporting local entrepreneurs in creating strong businesses that provide quality jobs and have a positive local/regional economic impact. To do this, The Foundation has established a regional endowed fund-the Entrepreneur Fund to meet the growing need for today and tomorrow's entrepreneurs.

With the dollars raised through the Entrepreneur Fund, The Foundation will support an environment for entrepreneurs through grants to collaborative entrepreneur projects, "seed fund" awards to assist in early stage development, and funding for specific events or programs.

"Unfortunately today, the resources to grow and sustain locally grown businesses are not sufficient for the global economic demands," Tim Penny, SMIF President/CEO explained. "That is why we started the Entrepreneur Fund.

It is clear that SMIF must be vigilant in preserving this entrepreneurial heritage and assist in providing the necessary resources."

With several key donors, the fund will reach $1 million by 2015. SMIF anticipates growing the Entrepreneur Fund to $1 million over the next three years - $500,000 contributed by local donors and $500,000 through The McKnight Foundation's matching challenge grant. Once the Fund exceeds $1 million, SMIF will begin using investment earnings to support entrepreneur-related grants.

Our key donors and pledges who made this possible are:

Bill Davis and Katherine Rossi, Utica; Davisco Family Holdings, Le Sueur; Dick and Patty Downs, St. James; Neil and Sue Eckles, Blue Earth; F & M Community Bank, Preston; Hormel Foods Corporation, Austin; Tim and Sandy Penny, Owatonna; and The Rosen Family Foundation.

"As a business owner, I understand what these dollars can mean to a growing entrepreneur," Tom Rosen, The Rosen Family Foundation, said. "I am thrilled to be part of SMIF's Entrepreneur Fund. I believe this will be the precipice for building and expanding entrepreneurs at every level and a key way to strengthen the economy in southern Minnesota."

About Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation:

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), a donor-supported foundation, invests for economic growth in 20 Minnesota counties. The Foundation has provided more than $47 million in grants and loans within the region during the past 26 years. SMIF's key interests include early childhood and entrepreneur development. To learn more about our work and mission call 507-455-3215 or visit

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Original Publication Date: November 7, 2012

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