PORTLAND, Jul 25, 2014 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack this week announced just over $98,000 in USDA Rural Development grant support to foster the development and growth of small businesses owned and operated by members of the Klamath Tribes.
The USDA funds will support a Small Business Development Program established within the Klamath Tribes to assist tribal members who are developing or improving business skills and processes on an ongoing basis. The program provides the technical expertise necessary for individuals to conceptualize, develop, improve and prepare formal business plans and to create ownership of their unique business strategies. The program uses the “Indianpreneurship” curriculum, a business course designed specifically for Native Americans. Participating entrepreneurs build up their business strategies, marketing techniques, and financial planning while fostering the entrepreneurial spirit and creating opportunities for new jobs.
To date, fifteen program participants have completed the full course, with an additional 10-12 tribal members to begin the course in August. Projections for new tribally owned businesses to emerge from the program include: a mobile salon, restaurant, nonprofit art showcase, consignment store, cleaning service, water contracting, forest contracting, specialty beadwork design, novelty clothing, and excavation.
“USDA continues to create ladders of opportunity in Native American communities by investing in the tools needed to create good-paying jobs and raise the quality of life for residents,” Vilsack said.
The grant is one of 18 announced by Vilsack to help strengthen tribal businesses and create jobs across the country. The funding is from USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program, which promotes the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas.
“The Klamath Tribes are proactively working to address high levels of unemployment and underemployment by fostering an environment of entrepreneurship,” said Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker. “This program gives tribal members the support and tools they need to seize the emerging business opportunities in a variety of arenas including retail, professional services, arts, and ecosystem restoration work in the region.”
A complete listing of the 18 recipients receiving more than $2.7 million in USDA funding nationwide can be found online. The assistance is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, the RBEG program has helped create or save more than 73,000 rural jobs, expanded or helped establish more than 41,000 rural businesses and community projects and provided more than $170 million in economic development assistance.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.
USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.