Meda, the minority business lender and counselor, said it will again award at least $1 million throught its second annual "Meda Million Dollar Challenge."
The “Shark Tank” style pitch competition includes speed-pitching, Meda’s Boot Camp for Successful Pitches, a live-pitch finals and awards ceremony. All for-profit minority owned businesses in the United States are eligible. Applications are open through June 13 at: http://meda.net/challenge.
The Million Dollar Challenge is the largest minority entrepreneurial competition in the country.
The goal of the competition is to identify and high-potential, high growth minority-owned businesses. Through the process, Meda wants to highlight innovative minority-owned businesses, help them with their pitches and attract new business and investors.
Meda CEO Gary Cunningham said last year's competition awarded $1.45 million in capital from corporations and foundations to nine minority-owned small businesses in four states. Five of those awardees have already secured additional outside private investment to scale their companies.
Separately, Minneapolis-based Meda will receive $1.5 million in capital over the next three years from the Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital Program in recognition of MEDA’s growth and ability to help grow “typically underserved diverse small businesses.”
“Small businesses are essential to a vibrant community,” said Rich Tofte, Wells Fargo business banking manager. “These ‘activator grants’ are designed to drive inclusive economic growth and significantly scale resources that help underrepresented entrepreneurs grow and stay resilient in the face of economic challenges. Meda is such an important partner in cultivating small business growth, and they have a long track record of success and leadership in the communities they serve.”
MEDA has grown to record capital and lending in recent years under Cunningham. It was formed nearly 50 years ago by Twin Cities business and civic leaders who saw a need for a starter financier for often-undercaptialized minority enterprises, often in partnership with commercial lenders.