MI-SBTDC lands grant to aid American Indian small business owners

Andrew Justus

The Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center, headquartered at Grand Valley State University, received a $200,000 award to increase aid to small businesses owned by American Indians.

The MI-SBTDC will use the funds to hire two business consultants who will work with the 12 federally recognized Native American tribes to help start and grow small businesses, said Carol Lopucki, state director of the MI-SBTDC.

“The MI-SBTDC has hired two American Indians to serve the American Indian community,” said Nancy Boese, a business tools specialist with the organization.

The two tribal business consultants, Elaine Clement and Ross Miller, are from the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, respectfully.

“They will receive extensive training to have the knowledge and skills to work with American Indian owned companies,” Boese said.

According to Boese, any business owned by American Indians is eligible for assistance under the award as long as it meets the criteria of being a small business as defined by the federal Small Business Administration. Though it varies by sector, the SBA considers businesses to be “small” when the firm has fewer than about 500 employees.

The businesses receiving aid will have access to the MI-SBTDC’s statewide network of more than 100 consultants, Boese said. The businesses will also be able to access market research, reports and business training offered by the MI-SBTDC.

The organization’s goal is to perform 750 hours of consulting work and create 25 jobs in the businesses that are helped, Lopucki said.

For more information, visit www.misbtdc.org.

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