Native American Business Grants and Loans Guide
Looking for grants to start or grow your Native American-owned business? In this guide you will learn about the best Native American business grants & loans available, qualification information, and how to apply! We’ve helped many Native American businesses get funded for up to $300,000. Instantly find out if your business qualifies online, with no obligations or fees.
There are many types of Native American business grants available for qualifying businesses. This guide will help you identify the right grant or loan program for your business and tell you how to apply. We’ll also discuss the differences between each, settle any myths and provide additional insight to help you make a more informed decision before applying for a grant or financing.
Native American Grants vs Loans: What’s the Difference?
Both a grant and a loan provide financing, but the main difference between them has to do with how they are repaid – if at all. A loan is typically paid back in monthly installments over a fixed period of time, while a grant doesn’t usually have to be repaid at all. To further complicate matters, you can apply for specific grants as loans, which must be paid back after being awarded.
What Are Native American Business Grants?
Native American business grants (a.k.a. Tribal Grants) are provided by the federal government, non-profit organizations and Native American tribes to help small businesses get on their feet or grow into something larger. These grants can be awarded for various reasons, such as increasing economic development, creating jobs, or providing services to Native Americans and low-income communities.
Qualify for Native American Small Business Grants
To qualify for a Native American grant, your business must be owned and operated by a Native American individual or tribe. In addition, your business must meet specific eligibility requirements, which vary depending on the grant program you’re applying for. Typically, grants are awarded to new companies or have been in operation for less than five years, have fewer than 50 employees, and are located in a rural area or low-income community. Additionally, many programs require your tribe or affiliation to be federally recognized.
Don’t give up if you don’t meet all the eligibility requirements for a particular grant! You may still be eligible for another grant that has different criteria.
Small Business Native American Grant Opportunities
Below you will find the most popular grant opportunities for Native Americans.
Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) Grant
The Native American Business Development Institute (NABDI) Grant is a popular grant opportunity for Native American Indian businesses. This grant provides financial assistance to help businesses in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, retail, and technology. To be eligible for the NABDI Grant, your business must have been operational for less than five years, have fewer than 50 employees, and be located in a rural area or low-income community.
Typical awards range from $25,000 to $75,000 in value. Applications are typically accepted twice a year, so be sure to check their website for updates.
Montana Indian Equity Fund (IEF)
The Montana Indian Equity Fund is a grant program that provides financial assistance to Native American businesses in Montana. To be eligible for the Montana Indian Fund, your business must be owned and operated by a Native American with proof of Certified Indian Blood (CIB) or tribal ID. The fund offers grants in various categories, including business development, job creation, and community services. Applicants may be eligible for up to $14,000.
Native American Venture Acceleration Fund (NAVAF)
The Native American Venture Acceleration Fund (NAVAF) is a grant program that provides financial assistance to Native American-owned businesses in New Mexico. The fund offers grants in various categories, including business expansion, community projects, and workforce & educational training. Applicants may be eligible for up to $20,000.
Small Business Administration
The SBA Office of Native American affairs also provides grant funding through their 7(j) program, which focuses on management and technical assistance programs. Those who qualify may be eligible to receive up to $100,000, in addition to gaining access to a variety of business assistance programs. These SBA loan programs include additional resources to help manage your finances, improve operations, and development programs.
Alternative Funding Solutions for Native Americans
Due to their lengthy approval process and very low acceptance rate – grants aren’t always the best option to fit your business’s needs. Below you will find the best alternative funding solutions for Native American business owners.
Native Americans that struggle to qualify for conventional loans that require excellent credit may benefit from borrowing against their future sales earnings by using a merchant cash advance. These are funded as a lump sum payment and repaid as a percentage of sales.
If you’re just starting a business or are a newly established Native American business, you may utilize business credit cards to provide additional cash flow to cover expenses. Business credit cards can be helpful as most other financing options require at least 6-24 months in business.
Depending on the type of business you operate, equipment financing may also be a viable option. This enables small business owners to secure a loan with the equipment used as collateral. These equipment loans may allow your business to offer additional services, take on more clients, or increase sales volume.
Lastly, consider speaking with your local tribal councils and community organizations. Frequently small grant and loan opportunities for Native American Indians are available that are lesser-known and not wildly publicized.
Native American Business Grant Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Disadvantages of Government Grants?
Government grants can be challenging to qualify for and are often limited in scope, and may not cover all of your business expenses. Government grants typically also require a lot of additional paperwork and bureaucratic red tape. Some programs also have requirements that state if your business fails, you will be personally liable to repay the grant.
Which Is Better for Native Americans, Grants or Loans?
The type of programs you qualify for will help determine which is better for your business. However, because many grants don’t have to be repaid, they are more favorable for Native American business owners looking to grow to new heights.
How Hard Is It To Get Native American Grants for Small Businesses?
Some programs only accept and approve a dozen applicants each year, making them very competitive. However, other programs, such as the SBA 7(j), provide funding more regularly and are easier to obtain. Your business structure, tribe affiliation, and financial health may make it harder to obtain a grant.
How Fast Will My Native American Grant Get Approved?
Several grant programs have lengthy applications of several months before awarding grants to select Native American entrepreneurs. This process can sometimes drag out for a whole year from initial application to receiving any funds due to the screening process and competitive nature of these grants.
Is Good Credit Needed To Qualify for Native American Business Loans?
Some grants require your business to be in good financial standing, including having a good business credit history. Others are less restrictive and just want to help fund good causes, so be sure to understand the fine print before applying.
Funding Your Business Is Our Business
Native American Business Grants and Loans in Summary
The Native American business grants and financing options we’ve discussed in this article can be a vital resource for small businesses owned and operated by Native Americans. These grants and loan programs can provide the financial assistance needed to get your business started or help it grow and expand.
Don’t Allow a Lack of Funding
to Hold your Business Back
It’s Time To Move Your Business Forward!