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Montana Awards $240K to Assist Tribes With Economic Growth

The state’s Department of Commerce has awarded eight tribal governments and organizations with grants of up to $30,000 each to help plan for business development and economic opportunities.

(TNS) — The Montana Department of Commerce announced it has awarded a total of $240,000 through the Tribal Business Planning Grant to assist tribes in Montana with planning for business development and economic growth.

"As Montana's economy continues to expand, it is imperative that our tribal communities financially thrive during this growth." Commerce Director Scott Osterman said. "These grants will assist tribal governments with planning for growth through the identification of current and future economic opportunities that will strengthen their communities."

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

Funds can be used for activities such as business plan development, market analysis, feasibility studies, physical business infrastructure planning, such as zoning and can be used to match other funding sources to accomplish business growth activities.

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

* Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes: To complete a CSKT Tribal Secured Transaction System with draft Uniform Commercial Code (UCC);

* Blackfeet Tribe: To update the existing Economic Development Master Plan for land use evaluation;

* Chippewa Cree Tribe: To conduct a feasibility study for an Elder 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 foods

* Fort Belknap Indian Community: To conduct an environmental assessment to develop a small business incubator;

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

* Little Shell Chippewa Tribe: To assist 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 beef mobile unit.

Past grants have supported tribal economic development such as the 2020 grant to the Little Shell Tribe that supported a business plan to see if it would be feasible to obtain 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 begun implementing the goals outlined in the business plan which includes operating a profitable operation and committing a portion of the profits each year to capital improvements.

Another example is Plenty Doors Community Development Corporation received the Tribal Business Planning grant in 2020 along with the Big Sky Trust Fund Grant to complete a Preliminary Architectural Report to identify the best site for a multi-use building to house a grocery store, incubated businesses, office space and allow for expansion.

They have since received the report and are moving forward with their site selection to build or remodel a multi-purpose 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 considered for funding by the Montana Legislature and was funded most recently as part of House Bill 2 in 2021.

Together 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 business and economic development activities on reservations in partnership with tribal governments, Native American economic development organizations and Native American-owned businesses to strengthen local and tribal economies.

(c)2021 the Clark Fork Valley Press and Mineral Independent (Plains, Mont.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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