In 2020, ChaQuana McEntyre was awarded recognition as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Minnesota Minority Small Business Champion for 2020.
McEntyre supports the advancement of business opportunities for minority business owners in the Duluth area, as an entrepreneur, non-profit founder and president, and social worker. She creates and conducts business planning workshops and trainings to advance low to moderate income and minority entrepreneurs who want to start a business, supported by her work in social services and insights from her own small business experience.
“SBA’s resource partner Entrepreneur Fund has positively impacted small businesses in northern Minnesota and ChaQuana’s volunteer and small business efforts are an important part of helping the emerging minority market achieve greater success,” said Brian McDonald, SBA’s Minnesota district director.
With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work, McEntyre founded the non-profit Family Rise Together, providing programming and support for formerly incarcerated fathers, including business development programs, counseling services, and support groups. As an entrepreneur, McEntyre addresses the hair and skin needs of Black and biracial people with her own small business making 100% organic hair and body balm.
Blending her social work and small business background, McEntyre has given back to her wider community of minority entrepreneurs. Over the past five years, McEntyre has facilitated five entrepreneur cohorts, helping more than 50 individuals learn to start a business, she advises 15 active entrepreneurs, and has worked with almost 500 incarcerated individuals on their post release plan, including entrepreneurial ideas, all at no cost to the individuals. She also holds monthly meetings and inner circle partnerships to strengthen business partnerships among the Twin Ports of Duluth.
“The Entrepreneur Fund has provided funding to help ChaQuana put on classes but the time and effort she puts into each class and her work with the individuals exceeds the amount of funding provided,” said Women’s Business Center Director Sandi Larson, “She chooses to donate her time to help others start businesses. She is truly making an impact in the lives of minority business owners in our community.”
In 2019, McEntyre moved Family Rise Together from her home to The Encounter Building in the Central Hillside of Duluth in the heart of a low-income neighborhood that has a higher number of minorities. She increased in square footage and is now able to hold her business planning classes in a large community space in the building.
The entire Entrepreneur Fund expresses their most heartfelt congratulations to ChaQuana for this well-deserved recognition. We are grateful for your partnership and look forward to continuing to work alongside you. Thank you for all you do for entrepreneurs in our community!