Washington, Jun 18, 2012 -- Contact:
Dane Henshall (202) 260-0996
USDA Continues Efforts Spur Job Creation and Business Growth for Tribes and Rural Communities
WASHINGTON, June 18, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of 27 projects in 14 states to support small business and job creation opportunities and train workers in Native American communities. Janie Hipp, Senior Advisor for Tribal Relations, made the announcement on behalf of Secretary Vilsack while attending the National Congress of American Indians mid-year conference in Lincoln, Nebraska.
"These grants represent USDA's ongoing commitment to strengthen Tribes, tribal businesses and Tribal governments and support sustainable rural business opportunities that will create jobs,” said Hipp. “The Obama Administration is working to ensure that members of Tribes have the tools they need to expand economic opportunities and improve their quality of life.”
Today’s announcement follows last week’s announcement by the Secretary to implement measures that will make it easier for individuals living in Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) to obtain USDA funding to improve basic services, including water and sewer systems, broadband and electric infrastructure. These measures are a crucial step for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to build modern utility infrastructure, create jobs and improve their quality of life. The enhancements are being implemented through a final regulation published in the Federal Register.
The more than $3.2 million in grants announced today is administered through USDA Rural Development's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. This program provides grants for rural projects that finance the development of small and emerging rural businesses, help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment-related adult education programs.
In Wisconsin, two RBEGs were announced to assist in training initiatives. The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC), Inc., received a $99,999 grant to conduct its Small Business Training Program. This program provides small business training and technical assistance to Wisconsin tribal communities in a rural network of tribal, county, state, and small business partners, mentors, and resources. The overall goals of the program are to provide small business training and technical assistance to Wisconsin Native Americans in order to empower them to create, save and maintain jobs; and to encourage Native Americans to become more economically independent and financially secure. The GLITC believes that through financial education and entrepreneurship, Native Americans can lift themselves out of poverty and provide a higher standard of living for themselves and their families.
Eight tribes are served by this program: Bad River, Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau, Menominee, Red Cliff, Sokaogon, St. Croix, and Stockbridge-Munsee. At least 10 Native American entrepreneurs will be assisted and at least one job per business will be created.
NiiJii Capital Partners, Inc., was selected to receive an RBEG for $85,770, which will fund NiiCap’s new initiative: Native American Women Entrepreneur Initiative, Enhanced Technical Assistance Project. This project is designed to address the economic needs of women by building upon historic foundations and previous training activity with female students, and expanding upon a documented desire by Native American women to successfully participate in the local economy. The end result of this initiative will be to develop women entrepreneurs and women-owned or managed small and emerging business enterprises on the three Indian Reservations – Menominee, Lac du Flambeau and Sokaogon. This project will result in creating 18 new jobs.
Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. The following is a complete list of organizations that have been selected to receive RBEG grants.
• University of Alaska Anchorage, Small Business Development Center; $250,000
• Red Feather Development Group; $33,520
• Northern Arizona Technology & Business Incubator, Inc., dba Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology; $96,594
• Sipaulovi Community Development Corporation; $199,500
• Yurok Economic Development Corporation; $99,000
• California Indian Manpower Consortium; $114,143
• Northern Cheyenne Tribal Housing Authority; $500,000
• Native American Development Corporation; $194,235
• Standing Rock Sioux Tribe;$50,000
• Coalition of Indian Housing Authorities of North Dakota; $160,000
• Little Priest Tribal College $40,000
• Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation $54,541
• First Ponca Financial, Inc. $60,189
• Ramah Navajo School Board, Inc. $50,000
• Wells Band of the TeMoak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians $52,800
• Moapa Band of Paiutes; $65,000
• Cherokee Nation; $252,185
• Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon $30,000
• Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde; $30,000
• Catawba Cultural Preservation Project;$99,000
• Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate $300,000
• Four Bands Community Fund, Inc. $99,000
• Lakota Funds, Inc.; $99,900
• Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe; $37,329
• Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development; $78,250
• Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc.;$99,999
• NiiJii Capital Partners, Inc.; $85,770
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council the President is committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities. The Council is working break down silos and find areas for better collaboration and improved flexibility in government programs and works closely with local governments, non-profits and private companies to leverage federal support.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).