|On Monday, September 21, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Native American Business Incubators Program Act by voice vote. The bill was introduced by Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM) in March 2019. The Senate companion bill, introduced by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico, now awaits a final signature from the President.|
The bill establishes a program within the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development which provides business incubators with financial assistance in the form of competitive, three-year grants. Those who are eligible to apply for the grants include tribes, tribal colleges and universities, and tribal nonprofit or private nonprofit organizations which serve reservation communities.
These business incubators will provide Native businesses and Native entrepreneurs with tailored technical assistance, financing, skills training, and access to a network of similar professionals and potential investors. The goal is to give participants the skills and tools they need to be innovative and to grow their businesses to better serve Native communities.
NAFOA has been supportive of this effort since the bill was initially introduced in 2017. We congratulate Congresswoman Haaland and Senator Udall for all the hard work they have put in to push this bill across the finish line. NAFOA will continue to work with Congress, the Department of Interior, and tribes to help ensure the program's success once the implementation process begins.