About US

A Lending Organization That Serves African Immigrants

We learned that while demographers predict that immigrants and people of color will make up a substantial portion of the Twin Cities population, economic disparities are still prevalent. This is why we believe that access to key resources, supportive institutional frameworks, and nourishing environments are necessary for creating financial success within marginalized communities.

Who We Are

Our lending organization was established in 2008. Since our inception, we have been helping African immigrants build and develop businesses.

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How We Work

AEDS builds wealth within African immigrant communities through economic development activities. We work throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area to create wealth, lift immigrant communities out of poverty, and contribute to and benefit from the region’s vibrant economy.

We take pride in our ability to link clients to vital resources and foster meaningful partnerships with neighborhood and grassroots-based organizations. Our extensive cross-cultural intelligence and technical expertise allow us to unleash the power of entrepreneurship within the communities we serve.

Our goals are simple: we want our clients to build businesses that create jobs with livable wages. We want families to own homes and to break free of poverty, which is why our team guides disadvantaged communities to achieve financial security. We strive to connect and build vibrant communities with creativity and social connection.

What We Offer

Entrepreneur Promotion and Training

We conduct introductory workshops to promote entrepreneurship, which serves as a vehicle for creating income-earning opportunities and small businesses with African immigrants. Graduates are eligible to receive small business technical assistance services.

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Small Business Technical Assistance

Our company supports a diverse and growing portfolio of emerging and established small businesses with culturally appropriate technical assistance (TA). Staff and consultants help aspiring entrepreneurs turn their ideas into lucrative businesses and make technical assistance and microloans available to help businesses develop, survive, and thrive.

We provide packaging loans with partner organizations and our growing loan fund. Our organization also offers TA in a wide range of areas, including the following:

  • Accounting
  • Business Structure
  • Legal Issues
  • Licensing and Permit
  • Marketing

Small Business Technical Assistance

Our company supports a diverse and growing portfolio of emerging and established small businesses with culturally appropriate technical assistance (TA). Staff and consultants help aspiring entrepreneurs turn their ideas into lucrative businesses and make technical assistance and microloans available to help businesses develop, survive, and thrive.

We provide packaging loans with partner organizations and our growing loan fund. Our organization also offers TA in a wide range of areas, including the following:

  • Accounting
  • Business Structure
  • Legal Issues
  • Licensing and Permit
  • Marketing

Loan Program

Accessing loan fund is important to African immigrants’ businesses for
operation. AEDS offers variety of loan types and our loan products are
designed to help African immigrant businesses access the fund. At
AEDS, we help our clients overcome obstacles that get in the way of
accessing business loans. Our goal is to enable passionate
entrepreneurs by providing access to the capital that helps launch or
expand their businesses. We eliminate the barriers that get in the way of
economic opportunities by pioneering nontraditional financial instruments
and following an innovative business development strategy.
Small business loans:
AEDS offer up to $100,000.00 for existing businesses that is seek
funding to expand its businesses.
Microloans:
AEDS offer up to $25,000 for startup businesses.
Credit Building Loan
AEDS offer $300 interest free credit building loans.
Sharia Compliant Loans:
AEDS offers for existing and startup businesses a sharia compliant loan.
Buy and sell agreements for assets such as vehicles, equipment, and
other

Financial and Homeownership Education

We promote homeownership as a wealth creation vehicle for African immigrants via financial education. Our company offers Home Stretch homebuying workshops and pre-purchase counseling that are certified by the Minnesota Homeownership Center.

Community Development Solutions

Our organization builds sustainable wealth within African immigrant communities through creative placemaking via the Little Africa Business and Cultural district, a branding and marketing campaign focused on leveraging diverse businesses, as well as arts and cultural assets along transit corridors.

We also conduct ongoing community engagement to ensure African immigrants have a voice in community development. Our team also serves as a cultural broker in advocating for smart policies that promote the growth of African immigrant businesses.

Our Mission

Our mission is to build African American communities.

At AEDS, we strive to develop businesses within African immigrant communities. We serve the Twin Cities metropolitan area to create wealth, help immigrants get out of poverty, as well as be part of and benefit from the booming economy.

We believe that access to key resources, institutional frameworks, and nourishing environments are elements for achieving financial success within marginalized communities.

AEDS confronts economic disparities by providing entrepreneurship promotion, small business development, microlending, homeownership education, and community development initiatives to facilitate healthy, vibrant communities. We aim to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners and to foster financial independence among families and individuals across our region.

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Our History

Established in 2008, AEDS emerged out of the efforts of a small group of immigrants who were concerned about the paucity of business ownership among the vast African immigrant communities in the Minnesota. The group realized that African immigrants had to grapple with rampant economic disparities and other unique barriers that hindered the community’s ability to seize the numerous opportunities available in Minnesota.

Overtime, the group quickly learned from local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs that some of the most limiting factors were related to language and cultural differences. The group also concluded that wealth-building held the key to empowering African immigrants in the region. This is why they decided to create a business development organization built around cultural intelligence and with an asset-based model.

AEDS was founded for public benefit and operates to accomplish our well-defined mission: wealth creation within marginalized communities and communities of black heritage in Minnesota. We accomplish this by providing customized financial literacy training, microentrepreneurship training and coaching, and homeownership education.

We assist recent African immigrants and other marginalized Americans to develop themselves and transform their communities. Through entrepreneurship, homeownership, and wealth creation, we build sustainable economic success in the prospering and diverse communities we serve.

Our organization has been contributing its fair share not only in raising awareness and visibility for African immigrant-owned businesses but also by providing the technical assistance and cultural intelligence marginalized communities need to succeed in a highly competitive environment.

AEDS is an impactful business development organization with big dreams for the future. We are bullish on the prospects of our communities and confident in our ability to open up economic opportunities for them.

 

Community Partners and Funders

We would like to thank our community partners and funders for their past and continued support. These partnerships and contributions have been vital resources to AEDS as we seek to fight poverty and build wealth within marginalized communities.

Community Partners

  • African Families Development Network
  • African Immigrant Services
  • Asian Economic Development Solutions
  • Aurora Saint Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Brian Coyle Community Center
  • Cameroon Community of Minnesota
  • Central Corridor as Cultural Corridor (C4)
  • Creative Enterprise Zone
  • East Side Enterprise Center
  • Eritrean Community of Minnesota
  • Ethiopian Community of Minnesota
  • Frogtown Neighborhood Association
  • ISUROON
  • Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD)
  • Metropolitan Economic Development Association
  • Midway Murals
  • Neighborhood Development Center (NDC)
  • Nigerian Community of Minnesota
  • Oromo Community of Minnesota
  • Prospect Park 2020
  • St. Paul Coalition for Community Development
  • St. Paul Public Housing
  • The Minnesota Homeownership Center
  • The Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation
  • West African Collaborative

Funders

  • City of Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program – Little Africa Fest Support
  • Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) – Little Africa Fest Support
  • Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA) – Little Africa Fest Support
  • Nexus Community Partners
  • Nonprofits Assistance Fund
  • Otto Bremer Foundation
  • State of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)
  • State of Minnesota Homeownership, Education, Counseling and Training Fund (HECAT) through Minnesota Homeownership Center
  • Sunrise Banks – Little Africa Fest Support
  • The City of Minneapolis
  • The City of Saint Paul
  • The FR Bigelow Foundation
  • The Funders Collaborative
  • The Knight Foundation
  • The McKnight Foundation
  • The Minneapolis Foundation
  • The Saint Paul Foundation
  • Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
  • US Bank – Little Africa Fest Support

Connect With Us

Contact our staff for more information about what we do. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have!