U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

09/21/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/21/2020 18:48

Udall Hails House Passage of His Bill to Boost Small Business Development and Create Jobs in Indian Country

For Immediate Release

September 21, 2020

Contact:Ned Adriance

202.228.6870 | [email protected]| @SenatorTomUdall

Udall Hails House Passage of His Bill to Boost Small Business Development and Create Jobs in Indian Country

Udall's Native American Business Incubators Program Act will now head to the president's desk to be signed into law

U.S. Rep. Haaland led the bill in the House of Representatives

WASHINGTON-Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, celebrated the House passage of legislation he sponsored to launch businesses and create jobs in Indian Country. The Native American Business Incubators Program Act, which Udall first introduced in the Senate in 2016, will establish and fund business incubators in Indian Country to help start and cultivate Native American-owned small businesses. U.S. Representative Deb Haaland(D-N.M.) led the bill in the House of Representatives.

The bill creates a competitive grant program within the Department of the Interior to establish and fund business incubators that will assist in cultivating Native American-owned small businesses. The incubators will serve as a much-needed resource in Indian Country, where entrepreneurs often face unique start-up challenges such as difficulty accessing business loans, federal restrictions on Tribal lands, and location in highly rural areas.

'Small businesses are the cornerstone of strong economies and communities, but hardworking Native American entrepreneurs often run into difficulties getting their businesses off the ground,' Udall said. 'I introduced this legislation to help Native American business owners navigate through red tape, gain access to start-up capital, and set their business up for success. And, as Indian Country faces new financial hurdles due to the Trump administration's mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, economic investments and support for Native small businesses are needed now more than ever. This bill will provide important resources to help businesses in Indian Country build foundations for success and continue powering their communities forward.'

'Native Americans' entrepreneurial spirit can break cycles of poverty, but for far too long, key economic resources have not been available to Native businesses. When I was running my salsa company, I could only imagine how much easier it would have been if I had access to business incubation support. In the midst of a global pandemic and economic recession, Tribal communities need our help now more than ever. The Native American Business Incubators Program Act will ensure that future business owners in Indian Country can grow their enterprises and build strong vibrant economies. It's an incredible honor to send this bill to the President's desk alongside Representatives Cole, Torres, and Young and Senator Tom Udall,' said Haaland, Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus.

The bill authorizes $5 million annually from fiscal 2020 through 2024 for the Interior Department to award competitive, three-year grants to Tribes, Tribal Colleges or Universities, higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations to establish and operate business incubators that serve Native American communities.

These business incubators will create a one-stop-shop for Native American entrepreneurs so they can get assistance developing a business plan; navigating federal, Tribal and state regulations; and attracting outside investment. The incubators will also provide entrepreneurs a professional networking opportunities.

To be considered for a Native American Business Incubators Program Act grant, the applicant must serve one or more Tribal communities, submit a three-year plan, offer business skills training and education, and meet other specific requirements.

A one-page summary of the bill can be found HERE.

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