State awards tribal business planning grants


Nov. 17 — The Montana Department of Commerce announced that it has awarded a total of $ 240,000 through the Tribal Business Planning Grant to help Montana tribes plan for business development and economic growth.

“As Montana’s economy continues to grow, it is imperative that our tribal communities prosper financially during this growth.” Trade manager Scott Osterman said. “These grants will help tribal governments plan for growth by identifying current and future economic opportunities that will strengthen their communities.

The Tribal Business Planning Grant program helps tribal governments and organizations deploy comprehensive business planning strategies.

The funds can be used for activities such as developing business plans, market analysis, feasibility studies, planning for physical business infrastructure, such as zoning, and can be used to match d ” other sources of funding to accomplish business growth activities.

Tribal Business Planning Grants of $ 30,000 each will be awarded to:

* Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes: to complement a CSKT tribal secure transaction system with a draft Uniform Commercial Code (UCC);

* Blackfoot Tribe: Update the existing Economic Development Master Plan for Land Use Assessment;

* Chippewa Cree Tribe: To conduct a feasibility study for an elderly care facility;

* Plenty Doors Community Development Corporation on the Crow Reservation: to conduct a feasibility study and business plan for a food market that promotes and supports locally produced food

* Indian community of Fort Belknap: to carry out an environmental assessment in order to develop a small business incubator;

* Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes: Conduct a preliminary physical business infrastructure plan to develop a small business incubator;

* Little Shell Chippewa Tribe: to help with business plans to provide Starlink broadband services to tribal members and a mobile medical unit under Little Shell Tribal Enterprises, LLC.

* The Peoples Partner for Community Development on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation: To assist with a business plan for the Northern Cheyenne Mobile Beef Unit.

Past grants have supported tribal economic development, such as the 2020 Little Shell Tribe Grant which supported a business plan to see if it would be possible to secure the 30-year lease with the Army Corp of Engineers to operate the Hell Creek Recreation Area.

The tribe has since acquired this recreation area and has started to implement the goals outlined in the business plan, which includes operating a profitable operation and committing a portion of the profits each year to the improvement of fixed assets.

Another example is Plenty Doors Community Development Corporation received the Tribal Business Planning grant in 2020 as well as the grant from the Big Sky Trust Fund to complete a preliminary architectural report to identify the best site for a mixed-use building to house a grocery store, incubated businesses, offices and allow for expansion.

They have since received the report and are moving forward with their site selection to build or renovate a mixed-use building on the Crow Reservation.

The Tribal Business Planning Grant is one of three proven grant programs within the Office of Indian Country Economic Development (OICED) at Commerce that is being considered for funding by the Montana Legislature and was funded on most recently as part of the House 2 bill in 2021.

With the Native American Business Advisors Grant and the Indian Equity Fund Small Business Grant, these programs continue to articulate measurable success for investing in on-reserve business and economic development activities in partnership with tribal governments, organizations of Native American Economic Development and Native American Societies. businesses to strengthen local and tribal economies.

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