SBA Celebrates National Native American Heritage Month
by Christopher James, SBA Official
- Created: November 14, 2013, 10:21 am
- Updated: November 14, 2013, 10:21 am
November marks an important time in our history and in the history of Native Americans in this country. This month, the U.S. Small Business Administration is celebrating National Native American Heritage Month. And we're working hard to help build entrepreneurial empowerment for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities.
In a White House Proclamation issued on National Native American Heritage Month, President Obama said that the Administration remains committed to self-determination, and the right of tribal governments to build and strengthen their own communities. That is at the heart of SBA's mission and aim for Native Americans -- to ensure that American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians seeking to create, develop and expand small businesses have full access to the business development and expansion tools available through SBA's entrepreneurial development, lending and procurement programs.
And we've worked hard to do just that. SBA's Office of Native American Affairs has worked to meet our objectives to promote outreach, technical assistance and education; to develop and direct training programs; and to coordinate entrepreneurial development opportunities.
This week, SBA Acting Administrator Jeanne Hulit took part in a White House Tribal Nations Conference, where the administration works together to strengthen government-to-government relationships with Indian Country and Tribal governments. Acting Administrator Hulit participated in a discussion on how SBA can support Native American communities in the United States. And John Shoraka, SBA Associate Administrator, Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, led a roundtable discussion on our Agency's 8(a) Business Development Program at the Native American Contractors Association's first annual conference.
In fiscal year 2013, SBA supported nearly $100 million in lending to Native American businesses, and we counseled and trained more than 12,500 Native American small business owners in the first three quarters of 2013 alone.
Through SBA's Native American Emerging Leaders and Native American Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshops, we've trained more than 400 Native American entrepreneurs and businesses owned by American Indian tribes, Alaska Native Corporations and National Hawaiian Organizations nationwide.
And the accomplishments don't end there. Moving forward, we will continue to improve access to capital, to technical assistance and to procurement programs for Native American-owned small businesses. We are expanding our entrepreneurial development workshops for Native Americans to reach even more rural reservation communities.
We plan to hold roundtables and listening sessions with lenders and native community stakeholders to improve lending practices and assist in access to capital for reservation-based small businesses; host webinars with Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to promote SBA's microloan and community advantage lending programs; and hold webinars and outreach events focused on exporting for tribes and Native American-owned small businesses.
And later this month, SBA will introduce a new online contracting course to help "Entity-Owned" small businesses through SBA's 8(a) Business Development Program.
SBA has been at the foreground of helping to bridge the gap for Native American-owned small businesses to ensure that they start, grow and succeed. We will continue to support our Native American small businesses and tribal enterprises by providing the resources that support economic development and growth in our communities.
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