South African Economic

African economic development

How We Work

AEDS builds wealth within communities of Black heritage through our economic development activities. At AEDS we take pride in our ability to link clients to vital resources and foster meaningful partnerships with neighborhood and grassroots-based organizations. Our extensive cross-cultural intelligence and technical expertise allows AEDS to establish an economic development model that unleashes the power of entrepreneurship within the communities we serve.

At AEDS our goals are simple: we want our clients to build businesses that create jobs with livable wages. We want families to own homes. AEDS strives to create avenues that allow families to break free of poverty. Our ultimate goal is to help disadvantaged communities achieve financial security.

We achieve these goals by providing the following services:

  • Linking clients to existing resources.
  • Assisting aspirating entrepreneurs turn this ideas into lucrative businesses.
  • Providing technical assistance to help existing businesses survive and thrive.
  • Helping entrepreneurs reach their full potential through one-on-one coaching
  • Making microloans and packaging loans in collaboration with partner organizations
  • Promoting financial literacy and home ownership.
  • Acting as a cultural broker and advocating for smart policies to grow small businesses.
Our Mission

Our Mission

Since AEDS opened its doors in 2008, we have come to learn that while demographers predict that people of color will make up a significant portion of the population in the Twin Cities, economic disparities are still prevalent.

At AEDS our mission is to generate wealth within marginalized communities and communities of Black heritage in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. Access to key resources, supportive institutional frameworks, and nourishing environments are all the necessary elements for creating financial success within marginalized communities.

AEDS confronts economic disparities in the communities we serve by providing customized financial literacy training, micro-entrepreneurship training, and by providing homeownership education. We strive to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners and to foster financial independence among disadvantaged families and individuals across our region.

Our History

Our History

African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS) was established in 2008. AEDS emerged out of the efforts of a small group of immigrants who were concerned about the paucity of business ownership among the vast African immigrant communities in the Twin Cities. The group realized that African immigrants had to grapple with rampant economic disparities and other unique barriers that hindered the community’s ability to seize the numerous opportunities available in Minnesota.

Overtime, the group quickly learned from local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs that some of the most limiting of these barriers were related to language and cultural differences. The group also concluded that wealth building held the key to empowering African immigrants in the region and decided to create a business development organization built around cultural intelligence and with an asset based model.

AEDS was founded for public benefit and operates to accomplish our well-defined mission: Wealth creation within marginalized communities and communities of Black heritage in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. We accomplish this by providing customized financial literacy training, micro-entrepreneurship training and coaching, and homeownership education. AEDS assists recent African immigrants and other marginalized Americans develop themselves and transform their communities. Through entrepreneurship, homeownership, and wealth creation, AEDS builds sustainable economic success in the vibrant and diverse communities we serve.

AEDS has been contributing its fair share not only in raising awareness and visibility for African immigrant-owned businesses, but by also providing the technical assistance and cultural intelligence marginalized communities need to succeed in a highly competitive environment. AEDS is an impactful business development organization with big dreams for the future. We are bullish on the prospects of our communities and confident in our ability to open up economic opportunities for them.

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Teshite Wako, Chair
Chief Financial Officer
Neighborhood Development Center (NDC)

Amano Dube (MA), Member
Executive Director
Brian Coyle Center

Gene Gelgelu (MBA), Member
Executive Director
African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS)

Habtamu Awetu, LLM
Human Rights Specialist
City of St. Paul

Abdirahman Ahmed, Treasurer
Business Owner, Minneapolis
Safari Restaurant and Event Center of Minneapolis

Leila S. Paye-Baker (MPA), Secretary
Community Connection Manager
St. Paul Youth Services

Kate Speed, Member
Program Officer
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

Our Partners

Community Partners and Funders

We would like to thank our numerous community partners & funders for their past & continued support of AEDS so we can support our communities.

The Way Forward for African Economic Development
The Way Forward for African Economic Development ...
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Download African Economic Development EBook
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