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Looking out for the financial needs of entrepreneurs during National Small Business Week

This year, the week that annually recognizes the importance of small businesses in strengthening the US economy runs from April 28 through May 4, 2024. By Presidential proclamation, National Small Business Week is now being noted across the nation.


If you’re dreaming of starting your own business, your first obstacle may be where the money will come from, for rent, equipment, payroll and more.


Entrepreneurs need capital in the form of business loans. Especially for first-time business owners, establishing credit is crucial in being qualified to tap resources available through financial institutions.


“As a startup, your credit score is at the foundation of your ability to be able to get an initial loan, the initial capital to start your business. It’s very important to keep an eye on your credit score and understand the components of it,” said Stephen Spears, senior vice president of Twin Cities Community Banking at Bremer Bank.


Spears said that a establishing a solid credit score for a business is similar to what a prospective home owner needs to do in order to qualify for a mortgage. 


“It all starts with strong personal finances built on a foundation of good habits,” Spears explained. “That comes from having stable employment, stable finances, and paying your debts and bills on time.”


Spears added that Bremer Bank recently embarked on a research project focused on serving small business owners. As a result, Bremer strengthened the tools, products and services offered to them.


The bank retooled its branches to “make small business owners feel at home,” according to Spears, and built partner relationships between individual entrepreneurs and a banker. It also shortened the amount of time between when a business loan is applied for and when it becomes available.


To create peer connections between businesses in the various communities it serves, each Bremer Bank branch has begun fostering new relationships between its small business customers.


“This is an opportunity when businesses can come together—start-ups, sustaining businesses and some that have a long history,” he said. “We invite current customers to come in and pair them up with individuals who are at the beginning of their journey to help them understand what they need to do to be successful.”


These Small Business Community Learning Sessions typically happen twice a month within the individual branch banks and have become very popular, valued especially by first generation business owners.


“What we understood from our research is that small business owners do like to learn on their own and from great banking partnerships, but most of all they like to learn from each other. They like that connection with people who have the common experience of starting a business, building a business, maybe failing and starting over,” Spears said. “We’ve seen some great relationships come out of that.”


For more information about Bremer Bank’s work with small businesses, go to




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