CHILOQUIN, Ore., August 19, 2015 – The Klamath Tribes will expand the array of services and training programs they provide to tribal members who want to own and operate their own businesses with the help of a $98,000 grant from USDA Rural Development, announced State Director Vicki Walker during a visit today to Chiloquin. Through these services, the Klamath Tribes will help their members achieve successful new business ventures and create jobs.
Over the past two years, the Klamath Tribes spearheaded the creation of a unique small business and microenterprise development program with support from previous Rural Development grants. The program gives tribal members the support and tools they need to seize emerging business opportunities. With today’s grant, the Klamath Tribes will expand upon their success and develop new initiatives to target specific needs in their community.
“The Klamath Tribes are proactively working to address high levels of unemployment and underemployment by fostering an environment of entrepreneurship,” said Walker. “By expanding their unique training and technical assistance program, they will extend business opportunities to remote tribal members and tribal youth while increasing the services and resources available to existing businesses and emerging entrepreneurs.” Bettles added, “The Business Program supports the course curriculum “Indianpreneurship,” developed by ONABEN, A Native American Business Network.”
Julie Bettles of the Klamath Tribes Small Business Development office added, “This funding will assist our existing program as it provides the technical expertise necessary for individuals to conceptualize, develop, engineer, and prepare their own business plans; the concept is designed to help create ownership of each unique business strategy.”
This funding is being provided through USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) Program and is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement. Congress established the RBDG Program under the 2014 Farm Bill. The new program combines USDA’s former Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) programs. Like its predecessors, the new program is designed to assist with the startup or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural communities.
With the funding provided under today’s announcement, the Klamath Tribes will offer new culturally relevant small business development training and deliver a new government services workshop on the assistance available to tribal entrepreneurs at the federal, state, and local levels. In addition, they will explore the feasibility of creating a small business incubator to provide tribal entrepreneurs with access to small business counseling, resources, and a shared workspace.
The Klamath Tribes have more than 4,800 members, but fewer than 640 live in their Chiloquin community. The Rural Development grant funds will support the creation of an online small business assistance strategy for remote tribal entrepreneurs. Today’s funding will also enable the Tribes to address the high unemployment rate among tribal youth through the development of a youth entrepreneurship initiative for tribal and community members in their final years of high school or first few years after graduation.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses, and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way—strengthening America’s economy, small towns, and rural communities.