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Leading voice in small business visits Native American communities

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U.S. Small Business Administration
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One of the nation’s leading voices in small business recently met with South Dakota Native American communities.

Jackson Brossy is the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Native American Affairs at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Brossy said historically, the SBA partners with five to seven Native American organizations across the country each year. These organizations help small business owners with technical issues.

Brossy said this year, the SBA has partnered with more than 40 - including some from South Dakota.

One of the partners Brossy highlighted, Akiptan, is in Eagle Butte. According to Akiptan’s website, they provide loans and technical assistance to those in Indian agriculture.

"They serve a market that is probably an hour from their closest bank," Brossy said. "so if you’re an ag producer and you want to work in your community, you want to work with somebody who knows you, who is close to you, and – specifically with Native American communities – who specifically understand the challenges of financing on tribal land.”

He said many times, traditional lenders may not be willing to provide loans on reservation or trust land because technically, the lender could never repossess that land.

“So understandably, banks are hesitant to do that type of lending. A group like Akiptan is able to bridge that gap and [deliver] a service where its needed," Brossy said.

The benefits go beyond tangible aid like loans for a new tractor, feed for livestock, and won’t necessarily be realized in a year or two.

"The real benefit…is something that’s going to be a generational impact where new generations of Lakota and other folks that Akiptan serves…they know and believe that it doesn’t matter they’re from, they can get access to capital and build out that agriculture business and make it thriving," Brossy said.

Akiptan has loaned more than $13 million reaching 19 tribal nations, according to their website.

Krystal is the local host of "All Things Considered."