The South Dakota Indian Business Alliance has concluded its first year of operating the Native Entrepreneur Investment Fund. The fund distributed 11 loans totaling $100,000 to Native entrepreneurs throughout the state.
The Native Entrepreneur Investment Fund was designed to expand access to fair lending services to the nine South Dakota reservation communities and beyond.
Nearly thirty percent of entrepreneurs served through the fund are located in or near urban areas, such as Rapid City, where half the Native American population lives below the poverty level.
South Dakota Indian Business Alliance spokesperson James Cordry says the initial goal was to help 40 Native American entrepreneurs, but the alliance actually helped 50.
“I know from talking all around the state that many Native tribal members want to be entrepreneurs, they want to be independent, they want to make their lives better for their families,” Cordoy observes. “So, I think it’s essential for a program like this to move forward and become just part of regular lending.”
Among the Rapid City businesses helped by the Native Entrepreneur Investment Fund are Alyssa Crawford Photography and Maui Wowi Coffee and Smoothies.