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SBA Recognizes National Native American Heritage Month

SBA Recognizes National Native American Heritage Month

By Shawn Pensoneau, SBA Official
Published: November 1, 2018 Updated: November 7, 2018

During National Native American Heritage Month, we recognize the traditions, contributions and impact of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians in our communities and our nation. As an enrolled member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, it is with great pride that my work focuses on helping to create, develop and expand opportunities for Native American small businesses.  In my position, I work to ensure that they have full access to the agency’s resources, including business counseling and access to capital, and that they are supported in starting and growing their businesses. 

In a Presidential Proclamation on National Native American Heritage Month, President Trump said, “We celebrate the legacy of the first people to call this land home. America’s Native Americans have fortified our country with their traditions and values, making tremendous contributions to every aspect of our national life. Our Nation is proud of and grateful for its Native American heritage and traditions, including a history of innovation and entrepreneurship. The essential contributions of Native Americans continue to strengthen our American family and brighten our future together.”

That history of innovation and entrepreneurship remains deeply rooted in Native American and tribal communities, and I know by that same spirit our communities are stronger when there is economic empowerment and opportunity.

The SBA has funded a series of Native American Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshops that provide aspiring Native American entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools needed to successfully start small businesses, and support the growth of existing Native American-owned enterprises. We also fund free tailored technical assistance through Native American Tribal Enterprises to help Native American communities across the country address their economic and business development needs. This no cost technical assistance is available for a variety of business types and in several key areas, including starting a business, business plan development, financial planning, computer literacy, marketing, human resources, government contracting, and financial management.

The SBA wants to be an ally for all small business owners to help them confidently start, grow or expand. We have the tools to help small business owners secure financing and sharpen their business management skills.  Native American entrepreneurs can access counseling and mentoring services through our extensive network of Resource Partners: more than 100 Women’s Business Centers, over 900 Small Business Development Centers, and 300 SCORE chapters.

Going forward, we will continue to support Native American small business owners and help bridge the gap to counseling, capital and contracting that promotes small business growth and development.

To learn more about the workshops, technical assistance or other services from the SBA, visit the Office of Native American Affairs’ webpage.

About the Author:

Shawn Pensoneau

SBA Official

Shawn Pensoneau oversees the SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs and works to ensure that Native American entrepreneurs have full access to the business development and expansion tools available through the agency’s entrepreneurial development, lending and procurement programs.