Improving Outcomes for Entrepreneurs of Color

As part of LegalCORPS’ commitment to expanding access to justice for low-income businesses and non-profit organizations, the Entrepreneurs of Color Initiative was launched to focus on the business needs in communities of color.

Entrepreneurship boosts family income, creates jobs, promotes growth, and contributes to the overall vitality of Minnesota communities. Expert legal advice can help businesses and nonprofit entities form properly, run smoothly, and avoid costly pitfalls that can prove to be potentially fatal. Legal services, while critically needed, can be financially out of reach for many low- and moderate- income organizations owned by people of color.

According to the most recent data from the United States Census Bureau, 47,565 businesses (10 percent overall) in Minnesota were owned by people of color, 20,510 of which were female-owned. Overall, 88 percent of Minnesota’s businesses owned by people of color were sole proprietorships.

To help meet this need, LegalCORPS’ volunteers provide pro bono non-litigation advice and consultation to entrepreneurs at clinics located in historically underserved areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, including the African Development Center, the Rondo Community Library, and the J.J. Hill Center located in downtown St. Paul. In addition to the brief advice clinic setting, LegalCORPS’ volunteers also offer full service ongoing legal representation to eligible business owners who fall below 200 percent of the poverty threshold.

Legal advice clinics and full representation services enable the community to receive expert business law advice free of charge. Through these activities, LegalCORPS is part of a broader support network of community partners available to Entrepreneurs of Color. A growing number of businesses are located in greater Minnesota, and LegalCORPS is working to expand its services to meet community needs throughout these areas.

Along with many partners, LegalCORPS is proud to be part of a collaborative effort of organizations that are working to meet the business needs of Minnesota communities of color. For more information, contact Entrepreneurs of Color Program Director Gina Washington at or by calling 651-583-5981.

See our Facebook page for details on upcoming clinics