MINNEAPOLIS (June 22, 2021) -- Meda (Metropolitan Economic Development Association) has opened up applications for its fourth annual Million Dollar Challenge for Minority Entrepreneurs. The Meda Million Dollar Challenge is the largest BIPOC entrepreneurial competition in the country, awarding $1 million in financing to BIPOC businesses from across the nation.

This year’s competition will be a hybrid model with applications and finalist bootcamps online culminating in an in-person pitch event in the fall. The application form can be found here.

Applications open in June 2021 and the finalists will be announced in July. Finalists will virtually attend the Boot Camp for Successful Pitches in August and September. The final pitch event will take place September 21, 2021 during Twin Cities Start Up Week.

Meda is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping BIPOC businesses succeed. The past three years of the Million Dollar Challenge resulted in 18 BIPOC businesses from nine states receiving financial awards, totaling nearly $4 million.

“The Million Dollar Challenge is the premier entrepreneurial competition specifically for BIPOC entrepreneurs to accelerate their business growth,” said Meda President and CEO, Alfredo Martel. “As we continue dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and racial injustice, it has never been more important than now to invest in our communities’ BIPOC businesses. Investing in them has proven to create jobs, boost economic development and increase equity - crucial needs in this time. We can’t wait to begin our fourth year of the Million Dollar Challenge to continue impacting supporting BIPOC entrepreneurs across the nation.”

Meda’s 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 more than 23,000 BIPOC entrepreneurs and helped start more than 500 minority-owned, small businesses. Studies reveal that there is large disparity between the success of non-minority and minority business due to lack of financial, human, and social capital as well as racial discrimination. Meda hopes to shed a light on this issue and do its part to kickstart opportunities through the Million Dollar Challenge.

About the Metropolitan Economic Development Agency (Meda): Meda was founded by a group of Minnesota business leaders who saw minority business ownership as a positive, long-term response to rising economic inequity within minority communities in our state. Meda provides business development services, access to capital and corporate and governmental market support for minority entrepreneurs. Over the years, Meda has helped launch more than 500 minority businesses and assisted more than 23,000 Minnesota minority entrepreneurs. Today, Meda clients employ 6,000 Minnesotans and have a combined annual revenue of $1 billion. Meda operates a growing Community Development Fund Institution (CDFI) that provides needed capital for minority businesses to become sustainable. Meda is also the host organization for the Minneapolis Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center, which has been recognized by the MBDA as the top performing center four consecutive years from 2016- 2019. For more information, visit meda.net.