American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians have a strong history of entrepreneurship and small business ownership. There are about 300,000 Native American-owned small businesses in the U.S. today, generating around $50 billion of revenue a year. Native American business owners have made their mark in a variety of industries, including tourism, gaming, energy, agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, and federal contracting. These businesses sustain local communities, create jobs, and help grow the economy.
If you are interested in starting a business or boosting your existing business, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help through a variety of financial support, contracting opportunities, and educational tools for Native American business owners.
Financial Resources and Contracting Help
We offer a variety of financial resources like SBA-guaranteed loans that help small businesses grow in times of prosperity or recover after a disaster. If your small business was impacted by the pandemic, you may consider applying for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). These loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster. Learn more about EIDL and other pandemic-related resources for small businesses here.
Beyond direct financial help, the SBA also provides growth opportunities for small businesses via contracting assistance programs. The HUBZone program for businesses in historically underutilized business zones allows qualified small businesses to compete for set-aside federal government contracts. Find out whether you may be eligible for one of SBA’s contracting assistance programs on our website.
SBA also provides educational tools that benefit Native American business owners across the country. The SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA) is dedicated specifically to the prosperity of Native American entrepreneurs, offering training and technical assistance, including Native American Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshops.
The Empowerment Workshops are free business training programs focused on entrepreneurship and small business management. Now through December, participants can choose between a full two-day workshop or shorter class days spread out over four weeks. Both options are offered in a virtual webinar format, and participants are eligible to earn continuing education credits through Salish Kootenai College.
Native American businesses can also get one-on-one mentorships through SBA resource partners, which provide customized, expert small business advice both in-person and online.
You can also find resources for Native American entrepreneurs at:
- National Congress of American Indians: www.ncai.org
- Native American Finance Officers Association: www.nafoa.org
- National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development: www.ncaied.org
- Native American Contractors Association: www.nativecontractors.org
- National 8(a) Association: http://www.national8aassociation.org/