Supporting Small Businesses: Support the development, growth, and retention of small businesses.

Small businesses play an essential part in growing Minneapolis’ economy. Since 2014, small businesses have created two out of every three new jobs in the United States.  Over 50 percent of the 44,106 businesses in Minneapolis have four or less employees.  Small business and entrepreneurship create an opportunity to build wealth in communities of color.  Having an entrepreneur in a family increases family wealth by 600 percent for a Black family and 400 percent for a Latino family. This presents a significant opportunity to align efforts to support small business growth and development and expand opportunities for people of color start and grow businesses.

As Minneapolis grows through entrepreneurship and small business development, including cultural and artistic businesses, existing businesses can be impacted by changing costs of rents in commercial real estate. Displacement of businesses not only results in the loss of jobs and retail, but assets that add vibrancy and social spaces for the community. Long-tenured businesses in the community are economic assets that contribute to the identity of a place, and this is especially true in districts and corridors that have a strong historical and cultural identity. Therefore, we should identify and endeavor to support the continued existence and success of these assets. 


The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to support the development, growth, and retention of small businesses.

  1. Continue to evaluate and enhance business technical assistance tools and programs to adapt to the changing needs of the business environment.
  2. Create opportunities for Minneapolis small businesses, prioritizing those owned by people of color, indigenous people, women, and those with low incomes, to close the equity gap.
  3. Increase the participation of small businesses in City procurement contracting opportunities.
  4. Explore strategies to report data on the results of City procurement contracting opportunities.
  5. Diversify business technical assistance tools and programs by creating niche-based programs.
  6. Coordinate with stakeholders to identify and improve opportunities to support small businesses.
  7. Continue to conduct targeted outreach to raise awareness and increase participation in City programs.
  8. Continue to expand on innovative business loans that have low or no interest.
  9. Conduct research and analysis of community business and demographic data to enhance the City’s business technical assistance tools and resources.
  10. Develop strategies to minimize the displacement of businesses in buildings that will be redeveloped, including ways to reduce barriers to relocate the business in the new development.
  11. Develop strategies to include affordable commercial tenant spaces for small businesses in new developments.
  12. Develop strategies to support the tenure of commercial tenants in the community such as longer-term leases and advance notice of sale of properties.
  13. Regularly review and update City ordinances, policies and processes to make them friendlier for small businesses.
  14. Continue targeted outreach to fill existing commercial properties that have long-term vacancy.
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