By Sequoia Blodgett, Black Enterprise
MEDA, (Metropolitan Economic Development Association), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping minority businesses succeed, has opened up applications for its second year of the Million Dollar Challenge for Minority Entrepreneurs. The Million Dollar Challenge is awarding $1 million in funding to minority businesses from across the nation.
During its inaugural year, the Million Dollar Challenge resulted in nine minority businesses from four states receiving financial awards, totaling nearly $1.5 million.
“Meda’s Million Dollar Challenge brings so much to the table for entrepreneurs of color: highlighting their innovation and creativity, attracting more equity and capital investments, and accelerating business growth,” said Gary Cunningham, President and CEO of Meda. “The impact of uplifting minority entrepreneurs goes far beyond the bounds of the individual and is a proven strategy for creating jobs and boosting economic development. When we support minority entrepreneurs, we support all – and we are proud to bring the Million Dollar Challenge back for a second year to continue that impact on a national level.”
Minority business owners often lack access to capital to start and grow their businesses. A 2017 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that from 1990- 2016, minority entrepreneurs only represented approximately 20% of entrepreneurs funded by venture capital. Plus, according to a 2017 report by the Minority Business Development Agency, loan denial rates were three times higher for minority firms with gross receipts under $500,000 and about twice as high for minority firms with greater revenues.
Meda services include business consulting, financing solutions and corporate and government opportunities, such as contracts and funding opportunities. Since its inception in 1971, Meda has assisted over 20,500 minority entrepreneurs and helped start over 500 minority-owned, small businesses.
The “Shark Tank” style pitch competition includes a speed-pitching event, Meda’s Boot Camp for Successful Pitches, and a final live pitch and awards ceremony. All for-profit minority-owned businesses in the United States are encouraged to apply.
Applications opened on May 15, 2019 and close on June 13, 2019. Semifinals will take place in July and the Final pitch event will coincide with Twin Cities Startup Week in October.
To apply, click here.