Minneapolis-based MEDA, the nonprofit minority business counselor and lender, has been recognized for a third consecutive year by the U.S. Department of Commerce as the nation’s top performer among 40 Minority Business Development Agency Business Centers.
MEDA scored tops for overall performance, including job creation, financing, contracts and exports secured for clients. The nonprofit earned the same top national honors for its performance in 2016 and 2017.
“This national recognition further confirms the impact of MEDA services, and [our] ability to fuel Minnesota’s economic growth by opening doors for minority business entrepreneurs,” CEO Gary Cunningham said in a prepared statement. “We share this honor with our amazing clients, our many deserving partners and Meda’s talented employees.”
In 2017, MEDA helped create or retain 1,352 jobs. It also provided over 13,000 hours of individualized consulting, supporting African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American and Native-American entrepreneurs. Additionally, Meda helped secure $18.1 million in financing for minority-owned businesses and helped clients win $100 million in contracts.
According to recent reports from the U.S. Census Bureau and otherwise, minority business in Minnesota, including those headed by immigrants are the fastest-growing component of the small business sector.
Last year, Bruce Corrie, a professor of economics at St. Paul’s Concordia University, who now heads St. Paul planning-and-economic development, concluded that the number of minority-owned businesses, including immigrant-owned, in Minnesota grew by more than 50 percent between 2007 and 2012, based on government-source material.
Corrie also said minority businesses have a higher rate of job growth than small businesses overall.
Corrie also found that most minority business are tiny, with $100,000 to $1 million in sales, and usually need capital and consulting to persevere and prosper.
MEDA was founded in 1971 as Metropolitan Economic Development Association to help start and sustain minority-owned small businesses.