Washington, DC, Jun 18, 2012 -- 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 South Dakota, three RBEGs were announced to help provide technical assistance. to small and emerging businesses. The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate was selected to receive a $300,000 grant to assist small and emerging private businesses; Lakota Fund, Inc. was selected to receive a $99,900 grant to assist small and emerging sub-contractors/contractors; and Four Bands Community Fund, Inc. was selected to receive a $99,000 grant to expand the financial capacity and sustainability with financial management, customer base management and access to networks. Also in Nebraska, the First Ponca Financial, LLC received a $60,189 grant to provide technical assistance and education to Native American entrepreneurs of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, which encompasses service areas in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.
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.