Meda provides business consulting, access to capital, and market opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. Meda also operates a business development center under cooperative agreement with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Minneapolis MBDA Business Center connects Minnesota Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) with business opportunities. In 2016, Meda served 676 customers through our combined service offerings and helped minority businesses secure $165 million in contracts. Since its beginning in 1971, Meda has helped more than 20,000 entrepreneurs of color and assisted in the start-up of more than 550 businesses.
Meda’s loan fund provides financing to qualified minority businesses. Financing services come with a strategic evaluation of the business which includes financial analysis, industry benchmarking, loan packaging, and introductions to area bankers.
Our business consultants provide one-on-one comprehensive consulting, applying their expertise and experience to solving complex problems that face entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Through the Minneapolis Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center, we provide services that help minority entrepreneurs identify and pursue government and corporate contracts and government funding opportunities.
From its origin in 1971, Meda has worked to break down the barriers to wealth and self-sufficiency that entrepreneurs of color face in building futures for themselves, their families and their businesses. Over the past 45 years, Meda has provided assistance to more than 20,000 businesses owned and managed by entrepreneurs of color and helped to start more than 500 new businesses. Growing sustainable companies creates jobs and generates increased economic activity; the “ripple effect”. The Minneapolis MBDA Business Center extends Meda services to entrepreneurs of color throughout Minnesota.
Meda was created in 1971 by seven business leaders in the Twin Cities to address the issues of rapidly rising poverty, crime and unemployment with a new and unique solution. These visionaries believed that the development of minority-owned businesses was a positive approach to lead Minnesota minorities into mainstream economic life and to provide equal economic opportunities. Three area operations were combined to create Meda: St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation, Project BEAM of the Minneapolis Urban League and the Minority Business Development Task Force of the Minneapolis Urban Coalition. The original financial commitment of $227,000 came from the Twin Cities business community, private foundations, individuals and the Office of Minority Business Enterprise of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Minnesota Minority Purchasing Council was formed, to promote corporate purchasing from minority firms. Under the direction of its chairman, James Remington of Honeywell. The program provided an updated minority purchasing approach to procurement managers and to corporate buyers. The name was changed to the Minnesota Supplier Development Council in 1993 and the Council became independent of Meda in 2004. In 2014, the organization became the North Central Minority Supplier Development Council.
In 1985, Meda received a $100,000 contribution from the McKnight Foundation for the express purpose of starting a revolving loan fund to provide expansion capital to Meda clients that are established and profitable. In September 1986, this fund was incorporated as the Minority Venture Capital Fund (MVCF) of Meda. By 1989 the renamed the Milestone Growth Fund had reached the immediate funding goal of $1 million and opened its doors on January 1, 1990, culminating five years of planning and fund-raising.
Meda launched the $5.3 million Meda Loan Program in 1995. The Meda Loan Program fulfills a major need for minority entrepreneurs who have viable businesses but fall short of traditional lending standards. Without the lending program, lack of short-term financing would remain a major hurdle for these businesses.
Meda became certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Treasury Department. Since certification, the CDFI program has provided $1.1 million to the Meda Loan Program.
Under cooperative agreements with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Meda established two Centers. The Minneapolis MBDA Business Center serves entrepreneurs of color throughout Minnesota. The MBDA Federal Procurement Center, located in Washington D.C., is the first of its kind to connect entrepreneurs of color nationwide with federal government procurement opportunities.