Enterprise Academy 24 and 25

Twenty-one Graduate From St. Cloud Enterprise Academy Class

Entrepreneurs’ business-building ambitions include a media company, auto body business and athletics academy

The Initiative Foundation is celebrating the graduation of 21 new entrepreneurs who are dedicated to building their homegrown business ideas in the St. Cloud area.

These entrepreneurs recently completed the Enterprise Academy course—an Initiative Foundation business-building program that features a 12-week training program matched with free and ongoing business coaching plus access to flexible loans and other capital. Participants build skills and receive support in starting and running a business. Delivery of the program was supported by Central Minnesota Community Empowerment Organization, Higher Works Collaborative and Too Much Talent.

“These 21 entrepreneurs worked hard through 12 weeks of classes to learn how to build a business plan, keep track of financials, market their business, and more,” said Zach Tabatt, vice president for economic opportunity at the Initiative Foundation. “We will continue to support them in their business journeys to help them achieve success.”

The following St. Cloud-area students completed the program:

Ahmed Abdi: Ahmed owns Laarri Media Company, the only minority-owned radio station in St. Cloud. He joined Enterprise Academy to work on adding an advertising entity to the company. He also would like to add videography and photography services. Ahmed is excited to take all he has learned and to work with more local businesses and organizations.

Abdifatah Afrah: Abdifatah plans to expand his language-translation business, Language Access Providers. He also owns Unity House Living, which provides housing stabilization to those in need. Abdifatah looks forward to using new-found networking skills to expand his work.

Hayad Hassan: Hayad plans to launch a medical courier business. She’s excited to use all she’s learned through the Enterprise Academy to register her business and get started. Hayad currently works in healthcare.

Brandon Higgins: Brandon’s business, Unified Social Services, specializes in housing stabilization. He also helps people apply for health insurance through MNsure. Brandon is involved in several housing-related organizations and has long worked with those dealing with housing insecurity.

LanaLee Lambrecht: LanaLee owns Spark 2 Hope, a consulting business where she writes plans for disabled people to access services, increase independence, seek employment, and more. She also started a nonprofit to support children with diverse needs. Lanalee enrolled in Enterprise Academy to grow her business to create jobs and support more people.

Cassandra Lund: Cassandra would like to open her own salon, Cassie’s Hair Studio. She enrolled in Enterprise Academy to learn more about marketing and to network with community members.

Jimmy Otira: Jimmy owns Ociti Groups, a supplier of cashews and coffee beans. He would like to expand his business to get his Tanzanian-grown products into supermarkets and to become one of the largest cashew and coffee bean suppliers in Central Minnesota.

Tiffany Stark: Tiffany owns Stark & Co., an accounting and tax preparation firm. She enrolled in Enterprise Academy to get help with preparing a business plan and networking. Tiffany has worked in accounting since 2004.

Hassan Abdi: Hassan owns Gatamow Logistic, a trucking business. He hopes to soon buy his own truck. Hassan appreciated the opportunity to get to know others in the trucking industry through Enterprise Academy.

Amin Ali: Amin owns Young Talent Soccer Academy and hopes to build a sports center in the future. He enrolled in Enterprise Academy to gain business skills and to access funding for the soccer academy.

Burhan Hassan: Burhan wants to use his training as an electrician to start a business. He enrolled in Enterprise Academy to learn how to launch his business. Burhan currently works in delivery and maintenance for a restaurant.

Ibrahim Sory Kaloga: Ibrahim owns Safari African Market and hopes to one day add a restaurant to the business. Enterprise Academy helped Ibrahim refine his business plan. He currently works in the heating and cooling industry.

Latina Lett: Latina is working to build Chi-town Eats & Treats and looks forward to serving her first customer. She currently works as a cook and enjoys cooking in her free time. Latina’s dream is to leave her business to her children. Latina is married to Rahsaan Lett, who is also graduating from Enterprise Academy.

Rahsaan Lett: Rahsaan is partnering with his wife, Latina, to open Chi-town Eats & Treats. He has more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry and currently works as a construction superintendent.

Abdala Muhumed: Abdala looks forward to getting Qoraxey Athletics Academy up and running to support the sports dreams of St. Cloud-area youth. He enrolled in Enterprise Academy to learn how to run a successful business. Abdala currently works in the mental health field.

Osman Omar: Osman owns Fast Trucking, LLC, and enrolled in Enterprise Academy to learn how to better manage his business and to establish financial projections. He’s also a school bus driver.

Peter Omot: Peter owns Med Transit Solutions, LLC, and provides transportation for people with mobility and mental health issues. Peter looks forward to fulfilling his passion of helping people through his business.

Jamie Villnow: Jamie wants to open an indoor mini golf course in the Brainerd area. He enrolled in Enterprise Academy to learn entrepreneurship skills to launch Black Hole Mini Golf. His goal is to bring more fun to the Brainerd area.

Kenyetta Walden: Kenyetta wants to launch K&G Events to host weddings, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, and more. Her next step is to find a location. Her partner is Eugene Willis, who is also graduating from Enterprise Academy.

Kamika Watson: Kamika wants to start an auto body business with stereo installations. Enterprise Academy has helped her to start to turn her dreams into reality.

Eugene Willis: Eugene and his partner, Kenyetta Walden, are planning to start an event center. In the future, they hope to have a chain of event centers. Eugene currently works as a school bus driver.