WINGS Entrepreneurial Fund (WEF)

WEF Micro-Loans

In 2010, WINGS started the WINGS Entrepreneurial Fund (WEF).  This initiative provides entrepreneurial support for women and youth in the Northfield, Minnesota area who are interested in starting or expanding their own business.

In partnership with the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), WINGS provides technical assistance and micro-loans of up to $2,000 to women and youth entrepreneurs to start or expand a business.

If you have questions or wish to apply for an entrepreneurial micro-loan, contact

WEF Annual Grants

WINGS also funds grants from the Women's Entrepreneurial Fund during the annual granting process. These grants are awarded in June to organizations that:

  • Provide access to funding for businesses to women and youth through micro-loans and/or micro-grants.
  • Support programs that deliver education and training to women and youth business owners/potential owners in areas such as business and financial planning, marketing and operations.
  • Increase access to networking, mentoring and collaborative opportunities for women and youth business owners/potential owners.

WEF Mentoring Program

The WEF Mentoring Program is one of the resources available to women and youth who are interested in starting or expanding a business. Mentors are people with experience and expertise in a business and/or people with practical skills who are willing to support and or advise another person. They are available free of charge to participants.

Applications to apply or volunteer to the WEF Mentoring Program are found at the bottom of this webpage.

Mentoring Program FAQs

1.) What are the benefits for my participating in the WEF Mentoring Program?

Benefits may differ for each person. One study of those who were in mentoring relationships found these benefits: advice, guidance, information, support, and feeling connected to others.

2.) How does it relate to the WINGS/WEF mission?

The mission is to provide entrepreneurial support for women and youth in the Northfield, Minnesota area who are interested in starting or expanding their own business. Mentoring is one of the forms of support that is available from WINGS for participants in the WEF program.

3.) Who can request a mentor?

Any woman or youth may request a mentor.

4.) Who refers me to the Mentoring Program?

To begin the process, download the application found at the bottom of this page. Complete and send the application to President, WINGS, P.O. 845, Northfield, MN 55057 or email the application to

5.) Who can be a mentor? 

Mentors are interested volunteers, most often Northfield community members. Many may also be WINGS members. Interested people complete an application which can be downloaded at the bottom of this webpage. Benefits that mentors may receive include: personal relationship with mentee, satisfaction of helping & sharing experiences, feeling in touch with others, and learning from others.

6.) Approximately how long does it take to be matched with a mentor?

Once you have completed and submitted your application, the WINGS president will be in contact with you. If a mentor is immediately available you will be given their name and contact information. If a mentor must be recruited to match your specific interests, you will be given an estimate of the time it will take to be matched with a mentor. Normally you will be contacted within one week.

7.) What is the goal of the mentorship process?

The major goal is individual development and learning to aid the likelihood of business success for the mentee.

8.) What are my responsibilities if I participate in the mentorship program?

You request a mentor. Once you are assigned a mentor, you contact them to discuss your mentoring goals and relationship. You create an informal agreement that includes how often you wish to be in contact and other information. You follow through on your plans with the mentor. Evaluations or other types of feedback may need to be completed. When your mentoring goals are met you end the program.  If you have questions your mentor cannot answer, for example, legal questions, you may be set up with another mentor.

9.) What are the confidentiality requirements for participating in the mentorship program?

Conversations between the mentee and mentor may be confidential if one or both of the people so desire. Most times, the conversations will be private and it will not be appropriate to share with others. Sometimes, great ideas or other information from the mentoring conversations may be of value to others. If so, you may be asked how you feel about sharing stories or information with others.

10.) Do I have to sign anything?

You will be asked to sign an informal agreement that you create with your mentor. This will include agreed upon goals, how many times you will meet, and other practical matters. This is not binding like a legal document or other formal agreements.

Why Give to the WINGS Entrepreneurial Fund (WEF)?

WINGS seeks donations from members and non-members.  Here are some reasons why we think YOU may want to give to the WINGS Entrepreneurial Fund:
  • This fund supports organizations that make loans, provide technical assistance, education, training and networking to women and youth in the Northfield, Minnesota area.
  • Community benefits include increased economic development, increased city revenues from the businesses and enhanced self sufficiency for families who will be able to support themselves. 
  • Community members have a new opportunity to mentor those seeking assistance.
Treasurer Wings,
Oct 5, 2011, 10:31 AM
Treasurer Wings,
Oct 5, 2011, 10:31 AM