WASHINGTON – In yet another attempt to push much needed Native American business development assistance through to the nation’s Indian Reservations, Senators Kerry and Johnson today reintroduced legislation that will give this underrepresented community what they really need: the tools and resources to take advantage of America’s capitalist system by arming them with the business know how that can make their dream a success.

“The Native American community is rich in culture and tradition – both of which would be a tremendous asset to the business world. With the right access to business resources and training, new small businesses will flourish and contribute to the local and national economy,” said Kerry.

The Native American Small Business Development Act would make permanent the Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA) in the SBA and establish three assistance programs, including two pilot programs, to provide aid to Native Americans. The ONAA would help Native Americans and Native American communities develop small businesses, including assistance cultivating management and technical skills, seeking Federal procurement opportunities, increasing employment, and improving access to capital markets.

The legislation creates three assistance programs. First, the Native American Small Business Development Program that would provide financial assistance in the way of grants to Native American communities on or near tribal lands.

Second, The Native American Development Grant Pilot Program, a pilot program open to small business development centers and certain private non-profits to provide culturally tailored business development training and other services to Native American owned small businesses.

Finally, the American Indian Tribal Assistance Center Grant Program, a pilot program that would provide grants to establish joint projects to provide culturally tailored business development assistance to prospective and current owners of small business concerns located on or near Tribal Lands.

The ONAA will be headed by an Assistant Administrator who will oversee the grant programs, recommend budget levels, establish funding levels and maintain lines of communication between Native American business centers, as well as consult with Tribal Colleges and Tribal Governments; Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs); and Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs).

“I applaud Senator Johnson on his continued leadership on this program and am proud to join him and Senator Smith in legislation that will help level the playing field and give this community the tools they need to succeed.”