Owatonna, Minn – April 2, 2019 Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), in partnership with Faribault Diversity Coalition and Region Nine Development Commission, is pleased to announce the 2019 Prosperity Initiative cohort.

The Prosperity Initiative is a program that promotes inclusive entrepreneurship and minority-owned business growth in southern Minnesota. The program provides regular education, coaching, and business resources to minority and new immigrant business owners in SMIF’s 20-county region. According to the US Census Bureau, 29% of Minnesota’s population will be people of color by 2040, an increase from only 4% in 1980. The Prosperity Initiative was designed to respond to this rapid growth and help remove barriers to success for entrepreneurs.

After going through a competitive application process, 16 businesses were selected to join the 2019 cohort. The entrepreneurs include:


  • Claudia Elia Chavez; Claudia’s Daycare
  • Faysel Ali; Furahi (home fragrance)
  • Khadija Ahmed Sharif, Khadija’s Shop (traditional Somali clothing and home goods)
  • Maria del Carmen Martiarena, Spanish immersion preschool
  • Luz Maria Romero; Luz Cleaning Service
  • RitaPaola Castro Morales; Mi Lindo Michoacan (restaurant)
  • Yakub Aden; YV Service (carrier and delivery service/insurance sales)


  • Erick Noe Cortez Martínez and María Teresa Cortez de Pérez; restaurant
  • Krystal Rose Hernandez; La Plaza F!esta LLC (restaurant)
  • Nemuel Garcia Zarate; Z&L Drywall Services LLC

St. James

  • Allan Mauricio Galvan Romero; restaurant and bar
  • Blanca Esthela Zaragoza Palma and Roberto Palma Zamora; Palzar Investments LLC (apartment rentals)
  • Martha Angelica Quiñonez Solis; La Frontera Market (grocery)


  • Gloria E. Campos Lopez; Glorian’s cc (online clothing) in Mankato
  • Khalid Omar; Imperial Code (high end clothing brand) in St. Peter
  • Raul Ivan Hi; Hi Quality Outdoor Services (landscaping and hardscaping) in Northfield

“We are excited to have 16 new clients joining our fourth cohort representing six communities,” said Pam Bishop, Vice President of Economic Development at SMIF. “They join the 50 alumni who have graduated from this program collectively receiving over 2,000 hours of coaching time.”

The Prosperity Initiative is a collaborative program of Southern Minnesota Initiative FoundationFaribault Diversity Coalition and Region Nine Development Commission  and is made possible by generous funding from CliftonLarsonAllen Foundation, Krahmer Law Firm, PLC (Fred W. Krahmer and Michelle Krahmer), McKnight FoundationMinnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and Wells Fargo.

For questions about the Prosperity Initiative please contact Pam Bishop at or 507.214.7011.

Media Contact:

Katie Godfrey
Communications Coordinator