Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

Economic Development Office to offer funds to entrepreneurs

By Lailani Upham

PABLO — Creating jobs through tribal business was the plot of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Economic Development Office tribal member business meeting last Wednesday.

The Tribal Business Owner’s meeting had representatives from CSKT tribal council, Tribal Credit, S and K Holding and Eagle Bank to help support and find out what folks need to get their businesses launched and grow.

Nearly 50 people were in attendance.

Spokespersons agreed that in the next ten years, jobs are not going to grow from tribal government or federal government because of cuts coming down from Washington D.C. and building a business is a strategy that needs to be implemented in the hearts and minds of tribal members to surmount the economy in the future.

Topics covered included CSKT purchasing, Indian preference policy, and offering technical assistance information and grants and loan applications to tribal entrepreneurs.

The consensus input from the participants was to hold entrepreneurial meetings on a quarterly basis for network and support.

The meeting was part of introducing the Indian Business Assistance Project funded by the Montana Department of Commerce Indian Country Economic Development Program.

The project includes small grant funds of $2,000 - $7,000 for new and existing CSKT tribal business owners.

The grants can be used to purchase new equipment or develop a new product line.

Due to limited funding the grants are competitive.

There is a dollar-to-dollar match requirement to get the grant and does not have to be cash related only. In-kind match can be an inventory, supplies, and equipment tools, vehicle used for business.

The five top criteria to keep ironed out is: quality of the application; business experience of the applicant; financial projections; a marketing plan; the quality of the match.

Existing business owners are required to show how the funding will support the growth of their business, for example: through the development of a new project or through their existing business strategy.

New business owners must demonstrate how the funding will support their start-up idea and must be explained in the application narrative, in the financial information and financial projections.

The Indian Business Assistance Project grant is only open to enrolled CSKT tribal members. Applications are being accepted at the CSKT Economic Development Office at the Tribal Complex.

Application closing is May 19.

For business counseling contact Steve Clairmont at S and K Holding, (406) 883-4317; or email him at steve@skholdingcompany.com.

For more information on the IBAP grant or to receive a copy contact Janet Camel at (406) 675-2700, ext. 1256; or email her at janetc@cskt.org.

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