Every November, SBA recognizes and celebrates the contributions of Native American small business owners. Their businesses help provide places for employment (according to 2019 U.S. Census Bureau data, Native American businesses employed 215,049 people) and support indigenous entrepreneurship, but these businesses also encourage tribal self-preservation, contributing to vital local economies in traditionally underserved areas.
History of National Native American Heritage Month
The first American Indian Day, according to Census data, was declared by the governor of New York in 1916 but wasn’t recognized nationally until 1990 when President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month.
Facts and figures
There are approximately 7.1 million American Indians (projected 10.1 million by 2060) and 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States. Of the 50 states, Alaska has the highest percentage of Native Americans at 20.32% with Oklahoma second at 13.19%. They are making impact in the small business space.
Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian businesses:
- Own approximately 26,064 businesses nationwide
- Have approximately $44.9 billion in receipts
- Pay an estimated $10.3 billion in annual payroll
Data courtesy of Census.gov.
SBA hosts online training events directed at small business owners.
The following are some resources available to Native American entrepreneurs and business owners:
- Native American-owned businesses
- Office of Native American Affairs
- Resource Guide for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians
- How SBA Helps Native American Small Business Owners Succeed
- Starting a Business | Indian Affairs (bia.gov)
Interested in seeing what funding opportunities are available to start and grow Native American businesses? Find a Certified Community Development Fund (CDFI) in your area or explore the 8(a) Business Development Program.
If you have questions about any of SBA’s programs and services, contact your nearest SBA District Office. SBA District Offices offer counseling, training, and business development.