Economic Development Grants

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SMIF's Economic Development Grants are designed to support new asset-based, collaborative initiatives. Projects must demonstrate measurable results and advance SMIF’s mission of promoting economic development in its 20-county region.

We're looking for new projects that provide education and technical support for new or existing entrepreneurs and businesses. Examples include business incubators, coworking spaces, one-on-one technical assistance, business skill training, and business outreach.

The current grant round is open. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2018. Awardees will be notified in June, 2018.

Grant Guidelines

  • Proposals must be submitted by a 501(c)(3) organization, a unit of government or a public agency.
  • Proposals must demonstrate benefit to SMIF’s 20-county region.
  • Funding requests up to $20,000 will be considered.
  • Only one application per organization will be considered.
  • Projects must be completed within one year of the grant award date.
  • All grants require a 100% match, at least 25% cash and the remainder in-kind.


Ineligible organizations or activities include:

  • Individuals, businesses, or other for-profit organizations
  • General operating expenses and expenses not directly related to the project/program
  • Capital funding, fixed assets, campaigns or endowments
  • Existing deficits
  • Programs or services mandated by law
  • Projects/programs already in progress or completed
  • Funds for re-granting or to establish loan pools
  • Strategic planning without tangible outcomes within the 12-month timeframe
  • Organizations that have an “open” cash grant with SMIF or have not satisfied a grant obligation within the past 12 months
  • Development or purchase of school curriculum without tangible outcomes within the 12-month timeframe
  • Expenses directly related to AmeriCorps VISTA members
  • Feasibility studies without tangible outcomes within the 12-month timeframe
  • Research projects or school-related internships
  • Routine city, county, or township planning or zoning

Impact Measures
Applicants will need to identify and report on the following measures related to economic development projects:
Mandatory Impact Measures: (all applicants must measure and report)

  • Identify number of entrepreneurs/businesses that have been impacted by your project
  • Identify collaborations and how they have impacted leveraged resources
  • Additional Impact Measures: (applicants choose at least one to measure and report)
  • Identify number of jobs created and/or retained
  • Identify new enterprise created
  • Identify new product(s) developed
  • Increase funding sources or leveraged funding
  • Increase business knowledge by entrepreneur(s)

Priority Considerations
SMIF will give priority consideration to applications which best demonstrate:

  • Measurable results—projects that can show quantitative results in SMIF focus areas
  • Asset-based approaches—projects that maximize the strengths, talents, and resources of the local community
  • Collaboration/partnership—projects that work with other organizations in unique and effective ways
  • Sustainability of local or other funding streams—projects that have solid plans for continuation outside of SMIF funding
  • Leveraged funding—projects that access all available resources and maximize SMIF’s investment
  • Effectiveness—projects that effectively address an identified need and/or opportunity
  • Impact—projects that demonstrate an overall impact within SMIF’s region

Required Documents

For questions or to submit your application

Contact Jennifer Heien, Grants Coordinator, at 507-214-7040 or

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