DULUTH, MN-- A Duluth woman has been recognized for her efforts in supporting minority-owned businesses in Duluth.
ChaQuana McEntyre has been named the "Small Business Administration’s Minnesota Minority Small Business Champion for 2020".
McEntyre moved to Duluth when she was in 6th Grade and said it was one of the biggest culture shocks of her life.
She moved to an area with not a lot of minority representation, which in turn lit a fire to change the place she calls home.
"Just having to deal with that cultural identity crisis that I went through trying to figure out where I belong, I just want to make that a little easier for people," said McEntyre.
McEntrye is the founder of a non-profit, Family Rise Together, which provides programming and support for community members and minority businesses. The award recognizes those efforts.
"The award is great," McEntyre said. "But there is so much more work to do."
According to McEntyre, there are upwards of 50 active minority owned businesses in the city, which she tries to support through her programming.
"The next step is to make sure that I am a part of an ecosystem that is truly putting money in the hands of black-owned businesses, indigenous-owned businesses, and creating safe space for those businesses to exist in our community," McEntyre said.
Creating a safe space in the community is something that McEntrye tries to provide through her non-profit.
"We have six spots where individuals who have at home businesses who need to have a shared space to get their mail, use the internet, and printing are now able to come into our office and use our space," McEntyre said.
Over the past five years, McEntyre has helped 50 people start a business and hopes to continue that trend to many more.
"There is not enough leadership that African American and bi-racial children can grasp, hold on to, and know they have a future here in our community and that is why it is important to me," McEntyre said.
McEntyre's award coincides with National Small Business Week, which is happening next week.
If you would like to learn more about minority small business support, click here.