Ed note: This is cross-posted from the SBA blog.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and the Native American Contractors Association (NACA) have signed a strategic alliance memorandum to widen our reach to Native American entrepreneurs and boost entrepreneurship opportunities.
SBA continues to work to impact our Native American small business owners. This alliance strengthens both our organizations’ goals: supporting the creation, development and expansion of small businesses in the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities.
NACA promotes the common interests of Tribally-owned corporations, Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHO), and Alaska Native Corporations (ANC), and also promotes the benefits of using Native-owned firms with high quality products and services in the federal marketplace and supports the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program. In addition, NACA monitors federal economic and business development policies and utilizes their member driven perspective to advocate on their behalf.
By combining our resources with NACA, we can continue to spur new business growth and innovation for the nearly 240,000 Native American-owned small businesses. I want to thank NACA for their commitment to this effort as we work to strengthen and expand small business development within the Native American business community.
In my last blog I said that SBA will continue our focus to strengthen our education and training for Native American-owned businesses, and we are doing just that.
In June, the SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs visited the city of Barrow, Alaska, which is one of the northernmost communities in the United States. We had a chance to talk with the leaders of the Alaska Native Village Corporation, who shared great ideas for improving and building tribal businesses in Northern Alaska.
And in May former Deputy Administrator Marie Johns, Region 8 Administrator Matt Varilek and I visited Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation in North East South Dakota. We talked with tribal leadership and with various tribal departments including economic development and planning about innovation entrepreneurship.
In May I also had the privilege to participate in a small business roundtable hosted by the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. We met with small business owners to talk about regulatory fairness, contracting and entrepreneurial development.
The signing of the alliance, as well as our tribal visits are examples of SBA’s proactive outreach to rural Native communities in an effort to support business growth and tribal enterprises by providing the needed tools and resources.
As a result, SBA will be adding entrepreneurship training and development workshops to both the Lake Traverse Reservation and Navajo Nation.
Christopher L. James is assistant administrator for the Office of Native American Affairs at the U.S. Small Business Administration.