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New DEED Pilot Program Offers Interest-Free Loans for Startups

Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs accepting loan applications through July 16

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is accepting loan applications through a new program designed to help early-stage businesses that are developing high-tech products or services in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs (MILE), is a pilot program that will provide interest-free loans ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. Businesses approved for loans under the program must have a 1-to-1 match from another funder and repay the loan within four years, with no payments required in the first year. The program is an initiative of the Minnesota Investment Fund.

“MILE will encourage the growth and sustainability of startups throughout the state,” said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “The program will assist startups through the next ‘mile’ of their evolution, which is critical to the creation of quality jobs and sometimes the survival of the business.”

MILE funding may be used for working capital, intellectual property development, proof of concept activities, commercialization planning, prototype design, market feasibility studies and other startup activities as approved by DEED.

Businesses applying for loans must employ no more than five people and have their headquarters in Minnesota or plan to relocate here. They must have been in business for five years or less, completed a recent business plan, and have debt or equity investments not exceeding $1 million.

Eligible businesses include but are not limited to the following: aerospace, agricultural and food processing, biotechnology, energy efficiency and conservation, information technology, materials science, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, process control, telecommunications or similar sectors.

Businesses whose primary activity is brick-and-mortar retail sales, professional or consulting services, direct financial or insurance services, medical or legal services, or real estate sales or development are not eligible.

The loan application period is June 4 to July 16. Late applications will not be accepted. The DEED website has more details about the Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs program, including application materials.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow DEED on Twitter.


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