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Chris James

Small Business Opportunities for Native Americans

Chris James
Assistant Administrator, SBA's Office of Native American Affairs

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 6:00 PM

Chris James was appointed assistant administrator for the Office of Native American Affairs at the U.S. Small Business Administration in July 2011. James is responsible for coordinating and directing SBA programs within the Office of Native American Affairs, to promote and enhance small business services and opportunities for Native Americans, including reservation-based Native Americans and tribal governments.

In recognition of National Native American Heritage Month, SBA’s November web chat will highlight Native American small businesses. Chris James, Assistant Administrator, SBA's Office of Native American Affairs SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs helps to ensure that American Indians, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians that want to start or grow a small business have access to SBA’s entrepreneurial development tools, and lending and contracting programs. James will answer questions about how SBA's programs and services can help to promote economic growth and job creation for Native Americans.

Note: There is no audio connection to web chat, and no broadcast capability. SBA moderators retain editorial control over the online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for chat participants. SBA chat hosts may decline to answer questions.

Note from the AICPA: We are providing answers in the context of a web chat, without having full knowledge of all details of the taxpayer's circumstances or the opportunity to conduct in-depth research. The AICPA and its employees cannot assume liability for tax advice being given in this web chat. Before acting on any advice provide here, you should consult a CPA or other competent tax professional. Also, we are required by the IRS to provide the following notice: any tax information in this web chat is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or applicable state or local tax law provisions.

 

Chat Transcript

 
 
From:
Jillian Burton
Location:
Dillingham, Alaska
 

Hi everyone. Welcome to the SBA's Opportunities for Native American WebChat. I am Chris James, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Native American Affairs. We are ready for your questions.

 
From:
Jillian Burton
Location:
Dillingham, Alaska
 
Question:
1. Are there any grants that do not have to be paid back, for Native Americans to start a small business? 2. Would the SBA be able and willing to travel to
Reply:
Great question. SBA does not offer grants to small business owners. Instead, we do have specific loan programs including our 7(a) Loan Program. For more information visit SBA.gov.
 
From:
Beverly Brien
Location:
Tacoma, Washington
 
Question:
As a MWBE, DBE certified and a Native Women owned business the creteria for funding is extremely difficult. I strategically located my offices on the reservation in an Incubator, however due to the funding creteria from many of the financial lenders it is impossible to see my business grow. I am a single woman with no collateral with a minimial amount of debt with a highly developed business plan and marketing plan. My mission and vision is to create other opportunities for natives business by Teaming and mentoring, however in order for the Company to grow and prosper the Company needs funding and without collateral I can't seem to move forward. What is available to Native owned business that may be in same delimna as I am?
Reply:
Hi Beverly - You may want to look in to SBA's 7(a) or Microloan programs. There may be a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in your area that could offer these services with flexible collateral requirements. The Washington State District office may be another resource for you.
 
From:
Gail DuPuis-Cheatham
Location:
Topeka, Kansas - KS
 
Question:
Do you offer training for small business? Where? Do you travel?
Reply:
Hi Gail – SBA offers counseling through our various resource partners including Women Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and SCORE counselors. At SBA.gov, you can access SBA direct. SBA direct is a tool to help you access your local resources via your zip code. That’s at SBA.gov/direct. And yes, I do travel; In fact I will be joining SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns for an event in Tahlequah Oklahoma on 11/29. Our focus is Native American Young Entrepreneurs. You can get more information at SBA.gov/young.
 
From:
Nicole Bowman
Location:
Shawano, WI
 
Question:
My 8a is coming to an end in 2012. What are other options I have? Is there a way to
Reply:
Hi Nicole – While your 8(a) certification is only for 9 years you may still use your status as a small business as a marketing tool . After expiration of your 8(a) program term you will still be reflected in the small business dynamic search engine for 2 years as a small business.
 
From:
Eleanor Lefthand Bianchi
Location:
Phoenix, Oregon
 
Question:
What agency can certify a business as an 8(a) company? How does the 8(a) certification help a small Native American business? Is the 8(a) program limited to a certain type of a small business? Can a retail Native owned business be certified?
Reply:
Eleanor, thanks for the question. SBA is the only federal agency that certifies a business as 8(a); however, there are other federal, state and local agencies that have small business programs. The 8(a) program provides managerial and technical business development assistance. Some of which is achieved through access to government contracts. If your retail business does not add material value to the products or services you offer the 8(a) program may not be the best option.
 
From:
Rio horn
Location:
Eugene, Oregon
 
Question:
I'm a 21 year old Native American with a sharp mind for business and very creative hands which helps me to produce my merchandise such as fine earings, necklaces, bracelets, etc. I also customize and repair jewelry. I have prior experience managing retail and I have tooken many notes along the way. I 100% confident I can build jobs in my community, provide knowledge and education about my unique ideas and merchandise as well as make a positive impression to business. I am curious to know how your SBA'S program can hlp me.
Reply:
Hi Rio - Give the Oregon district office a call. They can be a great resource for training and potential lending oppertunities. http://www.sba.gov/or
 
From:
Gail DuPuis-Cheatham
Location:
Topeka, KS
 
Question:
Thank you for hosting this web chat. I am the President of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Kansas, and part of the National American Indian Chamber of Commerce. I would like to invite you to Rez 2012 February 28, 2011 to be a guest speaker at our National Meeting.
Reply:
Thank you Gail - At this time, I do plan to attend the Reservation Economic Summit in 2012.
 
From:
Julie
Location:
Tulalip, Washington
 
Question:
My tribe does not offer small busines loans to tribal members. Where can I seek assistance to obtain a small business loan?
Reply:
Hi Julie – The microloan program provides small short term loans to small businesses. You may want to reach out to one of our non-profit microloans intermediary’s for training and financial assistance. The web site is: http://www.sba.gov/content/microloan-program the list is located at the bottom.
 
From:
Jillian Burton
Location:
Dillingham, Alaska
 

Thank you so much for the questions. You can always contact the Office of Native American Affairs at http://www.sba.gov/naa. Stay tuned for information on upcoming web chats and pod casts. Also, on November 29th, we will be live in

Tahlequah, Oklahoma.  This event will be live-streamed on www.whitehouse.gov/live so individuals can tune in across the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next time,

 

Chris