Washington: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today the awardees of the $700,000 in grant funding for projects promoting the development, success, and long-term survival of Native American firms eligible for assistance under the SBA’s 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance Program. Project funding is provided by SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs.
“Entrepreneurship is a powerful tool to change the arc of anyone’s life, particularly those who don’t come from economic advantage,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “I am committed to making SBA resources more accessible to small business owners across all communities, particularly tribal nations. Our Management and Technical Assistance Program is an important piece of that work. These grants will help empower organizations to further support the incredible contributions of Native American entrepreneurs and support them as they create their own success.”
The SBA’s 7(j) Program helps to provide specialized management and technical assistance to underserved markets and small business owners who are socially and economically disadvantaged. The program emphasizes entrepreneurial education, counseling, and training resources to help these firms succeed in federal, state, and local government markets for goods and services, and also as subcontractors to government prime contractors.
Functional areas of assistance frequently include, but are not limited to, strategic and operational planning and management; marketing, business development, and identification and capture of opportunities; accounting, bookkeeping, and financial analysis; contract management and compliance; information technology and systems development; and industry-specific requirements.
The SBA issued $100,000 grants to provide funding opportunities for Native American Micro Enterprise Business Services. The grant funding will be made to service providers to enable them to make unique management and technical assistance services available to Native American small businesses that are eligible for services under the 7(j) Program.
The SBA grant program announcement sought unique and innovative proposals to provide specialized training, executive education, and tools to promote business development of Native American small businesses. This funding will help to address some of the challenges Native
American firms and other 7(j) eligible firms face, including teaming with other businesses; mastering the process of federal contracting; and reversing declines and re-energizing small businesses.
The selected awardees have demonstrated substantive experience dealing with issues relating to Native American small businesses and have demonstrated that they have the capacity to provide a variety of management and technical assistance services to micro enterprise small businesses. The funds will not be used by awardees themselves as a source of funding to grow or otherwise expand their individual enterprises.
The seven grant awardees represent a range of diverse geographic tribal areas and industries. They will focus on helping to narrow the gap in business development services provided by the SBA to Native American firms. The awardees include:
The Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Funding amount: $100,000
The Cherokee Nation Small Business Assistance Center will use the Native American Micro Enterprise Business Services award to expand its existing training programs with the following: Executive coaching for businesses in the areas of sales, marketing and product management; financial management coaching to enhance financial systems and identify necessary controls to reduce tax burdens; human resource coaching to best manage staff productivity and reduce liability exposure; contract coaching to learn the ins and outs of government contracting; legal coaching to answer questions regarding product development, and patents. The award will also be used to train and license SBAC staff in the Growthwheel program. This program provides a 360 degree perspective on a business resulting in a holistic coaching plan while highlighting areas of focus needed to maximize stabilization and growth.
Oregon Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network (ONABEN), Portland, Oregon and Tulsa, Oklahoma
ONABEN’s project, Bridge to Success – Peer Mentoring & Entrepreneurial Exchange Program will focus on building Native American microenterprise capacity throughout the States of Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Targeted Native entrepreneurs will work together to grow in business, explore the importance of social entrepreneurship to build a stronger Native economy and overcome the challenges of small business through peer coaching/mentoring and entrepreneurial exchanges.
Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, Inc. (REI Oklahoma), Durant, Oklahoma
Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, Inc., through the Micro Enterprise Business program, will provide technical assistance to 7(j) firms to create, develop and expand their small businesses through the means of customized on-site and off-site trainings and webinar sessions. REI Oklahoma will work with Native American tribes to deliver a 14-course training module to tribal members and businesses. The training courses will include how to start a business, understanding taxes, marketing, human resources, government contracting, financial management and other topics made readily available to clients throughout the state of Oklahoma.
The Native American Development Corporation (NADC), North Billings, Montana
NADC will provide pre and post technical assistance to Native-owned small businesses in preparation for success in government contracting through the SBA’s 8(a) procurement program and other federal and state programs. NADC will also promote business relationships with private sector companies through matchmaking activities associated with NADC conferences and workshops to enhance their ability to attract more commercial contracting opportunities. Strategic training will be provided throughout the pre and post nine-year 8(a) program participation utilizing NADC distance learning technology, such as webinars and curriculum developed and provided through NADC satellite centers and tribal colleges. Collaborations with other NADC programs, such as the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Community Development Financial Institution, and Department of Transportation will be essential to the resources to support the growth and success of the native businesses.
Hi’ilei Aloha LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii
Hi’ilei Aloha LLC is a nonprofit subentity of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. It provides capacity building services, including training and technical assistance, to Native Hawaiian businesses and nonprofit organizations. SBA funding will be used to hold entrepreneurship classes for native businesses and provide assistance with branding, marketing and website design.
Central Plains Foundation, Inc. (GROW Nebraska), Holbrook, Nebraska
GROW Nebraska will work with partners Lakota Hope and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL) Extension to capitalize on the talents and interests of entrepreneurs on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and in the Whiteclay, Neb., area to create a group of entrepreneurs who work together and support each other as they build scalable small businesses that will generate a livable income for the business owner and his/her family, create jobs, and have a positive impact on Reservation residents. With this grant, GROW Nebraska, Lakota Hope and UNL Extension will create an innovative, entrepreneur-focused program that builds and supports a powerful business strategy for each participant involved in the program.
Indian Dispute Resolution Services, Inc. (IDRS, Inc.), Plymouth, California
IDRS, Inc., will use grant funds from the SBA’s Native American Micro Enterprise Business Services program to provide training and technical assistance to tribal members in California, Nevada and Oregon. Training workshops will include business plan development, accounting and Quickbooks training, financial planning, negotiation and computer literacy. IDRS also has special initiatives to provide training and technical assistance to Native artists to allow them to better market their artwork and provide art as a sustainable business model; assist tribes to set-up self-help groups for entrepreneurs; and provide distance learning models for native entrepreneurs who cannot attend training. IDRS will also use SBA funds to strengthen Native entrepreneur data collection and to reach new tribes and tribal entrepreneurs.
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