Written by The Herald-News
Native American business owners who are looking for assistance can apply for a grant that can go toward helping their business grow.
The Montana Indian Equity Fund grant assists current or new Native American business owners who are members of Montana’s federally recognized tribes or enrolled members of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe. The grant is designed to help a new business or contribute to the growth of a small business.
According to the grant application guidelines on the Montana Department of Commerce’s website, the department will provide grants up to a total of $14,000 to eligible applicants.
Business owners who receive the grant can use the money for different things, such as the purchase of land, equipment and assets.
Businesses that apply must provide information about the nature of their business, the service it provides and the nature of their consumers and competition. They must also provide documentation of enrollment in a Montana federally recognized tribe or enrollment in the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe. This can be in the form of a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood or tribal ID. They must also provide pertinent papers such as leases, contracts, invoices, vendor quotes and financial projections.
Existing business owners must show how the money will help their business either through the development of a new project or how it will affect their current business practices while new business owners must explain how the grant will support the success of their idea.
Businesses that have previously received the grant can apply again, but they must present a new technology, a new product or a new service in their application. They will be ranked less competitive than applicants who have not received the award.
The fund requires business owners to provide a minimum of dollar to dollar match. This can include a loan from a local bank. If the loan is from a Native American Community Development Financial Institution, a tribal loan fund or a Native American-owned bank, the application will receive consideration in the scoring process. Business owners must also include a repayment plan of how they will pay back the loan.
Collateral such as cash or in kind, which includes inventory or equipment, are also acceptable matches.
Applications can be found on the Montana Department Chamber of Commerce website and will be accepted until Oct. 31.