A community loan fund based on the Pine Ridge reservation has received a $400,000 federal grant to assist Native American entrepreneurs on the Pine Ridge Reservation improve business skills.
Lakota Funds plans to use the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration grant to launch the Building Native Industry Institute. The 3 year initiative will deliver at least 26 business education classes to 625 participants through 11 public access points and an online learning center.
Spokesperson Kadem Fisher says the Building Native Industry Institute will help Native American entrepreneurs overcome the challenges of working on the reservation, which include limited resources and limited local infrastructure.
“Our whole hope is to expand the private businesses on the Pine Ridge reservation,” explains Fisher. “To develop curriculum specifically industries such as construction, retail, healthy foods, artisans.”
Seminars conducted by the Building Native Industry Institute will include topics on starting and growing a business, marketing, business planning, accounting, and human resources.
The ultimate goal of the Building Native Industry Institute is to establish 60 new businesses on the Pine Ridge Reservation.