Native Americans who wish to found their own small business – or expand one that has already been founded – need only visit the Office of Native American Affairs to receive assistance. They are part of the Small Business Association, and their website is: http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/1/2960
The Office of Native American Affairs has one mission – to make sure that Native Americans, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians are given the same access to the tools necessary to create their business as all other Americans. Their phone is Phone: 202 205 7364 and there is Fax: 202 205 6139.
There are four loan programs to help Native Americans get a small business loan.
The MicroLoan Program loans small amounts of money on a short-term basis to small business owners and child care centers (though these must be not-for-profit). The funds are given to certain intermediary lenders, who in turn disburse the money to those who apply and meet certain qualifications.
The 7(a) Loan Program is designed to help start up businesses, that are not eligible for loans from banks, to acquire financing.
The CDC/504 Program loans money on a long-term basis. These loans are designed to help small businesses expand into new buildings, or modernize their current location.
Guaranteed Loan Programs are also available through a variety of banks, as long as the SBA guarantees those loans.
There are more programs to help Native Americans get small business loans.
The PRIME program (Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs) was founded specifically to help those individuals who do not have the right amount of training and education to start a business, to receive that training.
The SBIC (Small Business Investment Companies) are a group of venture capitalists who loan money to entrepreneurs to set up their small businesses.
Thanks to the Office of Native American Affairs, the amount of small businesses owned by Native Americans is growing steadily – more than 17% since 2002.
In addition to the loans listed above, the E200 Emerging Leaders Initiative has helped to train many prospective Native American small business owners. This Initiative consists of a 9-month training program which offers about 100 hours of classroom time, and provides mentors to work with the small business owners to ensure that their businesses, once founded, are successful.
A new program to help Native Americans was instituted on January 4, 2012, called “Native American Small Business Primer: Strategies for Success.” This course, offered online, provides information on how Native Americans can start a business – all the forms and legalities that need to be taken care of – and provides information on acquiring seed money, raising capital, and acquiring loans.
The URL for the Native American Business Primer is: https://eweb1.sba.gov/sbtn/registration/index.cfm?CourseId=75