Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s 33 million small businesses, announces four new awards for a pilot Tribal College Small Business Achievement (TCSBA) grant.

“In my travels through Indian Country, I witnessed directly that we have an opportunity to partner with the dynamic Tribal Colleges and Universities across the country. We are proud to announce this partnership to meet Native American and Indigenous entrepreneurs where they are,” said Administrator Guzman. “Through the TCSBA, we will help connect both student entrepreneurs and small businesses in the community with resources for them to start, build and grow their businesses.”

The mission of the TCSBA Program is to act as the catalyst for providing in-depth, substantive, outcome-oriented business services to Native American entrepreneurs, both nascent and established businesses, a representative number of which are socially and economically disadvantaged. This mission is accomplished through the award of financial assistance to Tribal Colleges and Universities as defined in the Higher Education Act HEA 316 (U.S.C. 1059c) to enable them to affect substantial economic impact in their communities, as measured by successful business start-ups, job creation and retention, and increased company revenues.

The new pilot partnership to help fund entrepreneurship opportunities in tribal communities by utilizing tribal colleges and universities with four awards of a maximum amount of $250,000 each annually, for up to a 60-month (5-year) period. “This is the first partnership of its kind with Tribal Colleges and Universities to support both student entrepreneurs and existing businesses in the community,” said Jackson Brossy, Assistant Administrator, SBA Office of Native American Affairs, Washington, DC.

The four new grantees include:

  • Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, KS
  • Nebraska Indian College, Macy, NE
  • Salish and Kootenai College, Pablo, MT
  • Institute of American Indian Art, Santa Fe, NM

The SBA also announces an expansion of 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance Program. Two new partners serving Indigenous entrepreneurs in the Great Plains and the Southwest through the SBA Native American Micro Enterprise Business Services program are now included in the 7(j) program. This is an expansion of existing grants administered by the SBA to increase small business support to Native American entrepreneurs.

The new grantees include:

  • Black Hills Community Loan Fund, Rapid City, SD
  • Indian Dispute Resolution Services, Inc., Plymoth, CA

According to Dr. Barbara Schmitt, Executive Director, Black Hills Community Loan Fund, the SBA 7(j) award will be leveraged to expand BHCLF’s current training and technical services to the Native American and Indigenous entrepreneurs in the Great Plains region. “As a current SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program Spoke, we connect small businesses in the underserved communities of the He Sapa (Rapid City) region to critical resources and assistance,” said Schmitt. “We look forward to expanding our work through the 7(j) program and continuing our work alongside SBA and ecosystem partners to help small businesses start and grow.”

Authorized by the Small Business Act, SBA’s 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance program, or the 7(j) program, provides high-quality assistance to SBA-approved small businesses to help them successfully compete for federal, state, and local contracting opportunities as a prime or subcontractor.

“While Native American Tribal Lands are some of the most remote and economically challenged areas in the United States, there’s an abundance of opportunity for entrepreneurs, and SBA is further connecting critical business resources to Indigenous people through these programs,” said Aikta Marcoulier, SBA Regional Administrator. “These awards are a move in the right and necessary direction to cover historical gaps in the small business space in rural America.”

Businesses in the program receive training, executive education, and one-on-one consulting in a wide range of activities, and the opportunity to participate in courses in the following areas:

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Strategic and operational planning
  • Financial analysis
  • Business development
  • Contract management
  • Compliance
  • Various business-related software

“The expanded SBA investment in Native American micro enterprise support services is a step forward in reducing small business barriers and provides a greater chance for job and economic creation through business ownership,” said Jaime Wood, SBA South Dakota District Director. “Black Hills Community Loan Fund has the experience, dedication, cultural awareness, business expertise, access to lending, and organic connections with Native Americans wanting to start and grow a business. All sizes of small businesses from a variety of industries can benefit from their services.”

To be eligible for the 7(j) program, a small business must be one or more of the following:

  • Located in areas of high unemployment or low income
  • Owned by low-income individuals
  • Certified as an 8(a) participant, HUBZone small business, or economically- disadvantaged women-owned small business.

The SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs leads Federal Government efforts to promote entrepreneurship among Native American communities, to ensure underserved communities are supported. Competitive proposals will outline how the project will increase the capacity of Native American entrepreneurs to access capital, create new enterprises, increase business survivability, create jobs, access global markets, and do business with the federal government.

To learn more about assistance provided to Native American small businesses and SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs, please visit To connect with Black Hills Community Loan Fund to learn more about 7(j) entrepreneurial support, please contact