“What people have historically done in our community is create their own opportunities. That’s who we are, that’s what we do,” said Kenya McKnight, a community finance specialist at the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON). NEON works with small businesses and micro-businesses in North Minneapolis to help them achieve success.
North-side residents lack access to quality and local jobs, which is a huge problem. NEON fosters the north side’s entrepreneurial spirit to create more potential job opportunities. Take for example Shantae Holmes, owner of All Washed Up Laundromat on Penn Ave. in North Minneapolis. She recognized a need in her community which was lack of access to a clean, safe place to wash your clothes — a basic human need. That’s when she drew up a business plan and worked with NEON and its network of organizations to secure credit and loans to help her realize her goals of becoming a business owner.