In recent years, there has been a boom in the diversity of young entrepreneurs, but Native Americans are still grossly underrepresented among these. Moreover, the ones that are successful are still presumed to be socially disadvantaged, presenting Native American entrepreneurs with similar problems to female entrepreneurs: they simply aren’t taken seriously. To mitigate some of these issues, there are several Native American business grants and resources that can help take a business to the next level.

Small Business Administration Office of Native American Affairs

The Small Administration’s Office of Native American Affairs aids American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians to create, develop and expand small businesses. They have a variety of resources available to ensure that Native entrepreneurs have full access to the necessary business development and expansion tools.

The Small Business Administration also sometimes offers Native American business grants. In 2016, they awarded $100,000 each to seven tribal groups to bolster business development on tribal lands. They also offer grants through their Management and Technical Assistance Program. Awards can be a large as $100,000 and include guidance on financial planning, operations management, marketing, and more.

National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development

This Native American business grant is offered by the U.S. Department of the Interior to conduct feasibility analyses. Its goal is to enable tribes to assess risk of risk of new economic investments and to weigh these risks to determine whether a project is worth pursuing. Data gathered from these studies can also be used later as documentation of due diligence when seeking future investments.

The value of this grant varies and is awarded at the discretion of the organization. The award is for the span of one year. While the award funds primarily feasibility analyses on new businesses, it can also be used to conduct these analyses on businesses looking to enter comparable markets or looking to restructure their business to tackle new business ventures.

Federal, State, and Tribal Administration Funding

There are a variety of Native American business grants available from different federal and state governments and tribal administrations. For example, the United States Department of Agriculture provides various small business grants for rural development, agricultural research,renewable energy development, and conservation, for which Native entrepreneurs qualify. Additionally, the Department of Commerce offers grants for economic development, including business development, as well as grants for regional innovation strategies. While these are a little more niche specific, it may still help some entrepreneurs bolster their business. Some of these can be located on national grant databases like grants.gov, but for others, interested applicants should inquire with their local government office or tribal administration to get more information about these opportunities.

It’s also important to remember that small business grants for underrepresented minorities will often apply to Native American entrepreneurs.

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