FORT HALL – The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) has been awarded the Tier 2 Small Business Administration’s Community Navigator Pilot Program in the amount of $150,000 for Native American Small Business Entrepreneurship initiatives for the Fort Hall Reservation.

The Idaho Connect Initiative is in partnership with the Idaho Hispanic Foundation and will leverage business development expertise statewide. The Small Business initiative project will focus on engaging direct outreach, offering technical assistance to better access loans, grants and relief for Small Business and will include financial literacy, credit counseling, financial assistance, and accessing valuable resources for Small Businesses.

The Shoshone-Bannock CDFI will be partnering with the Tribal Youth programs led by program manager Jessica James to bring entrepreneurship classes to tribal youth that have an interest in Small Business. In addition, entrepreneurship courses revolving around the setup of a small business will be offered to tribal members. One of the goals of the Shoshone-Bannock CDFI is to begin the process of developing a resource center specifically to assist Native American Small Businesses start-up for tribal members.

The Shoshone-Bannock CDFI is one of the seven awarded for this Small Business initiative. Other organizations awarded include Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, South Central Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Veteran Entrepreneurial Alliance, Idaho Veteran Chamber of Commerce, North Idaho Native Fund, the Nez Perce Tribe, and Idaho Black Community Alliance. The Shoshone-Bannock CDFI is also part of the three organizations along with the Idaho Women’s Business Alliance that established the Idaho Native American Women Business Alliance along with Nez Perce and Coeur D’ Alene Tribes.

As part of the grant award there was a VIP Ribbon Cutting Ceremony hosted in Boise on Nov. 17 to celebrate the kickoff of the newly awarded Tier 2 Grant and to launch the Idaho Connect Community Navigator Pilot Program. In attendance was the Assistant Administrator, Natalie Cofield of Washington, D.C., from the U.S. Small Business Administration who has a special interest in Native American Entrepreneurship. From the Tribes, Chairman Devon Boyer and other council members were in attendance along with the Shoshone-Bannock CDFI staff. In addition, several tribal owned small businesses from Fort Hall were also extended a VIP invite to give their perspective on Native American Entrepreneurship including: Davis Industries (Brooks & Connie Davis), Shakota Supply (Georgette Running Eagle), Zahn Tacos (Allison Evening), RH Solutions (Becky Hugues), and Face of Gold (Randy’L Teton).

CDFI stands for Community Development Financial Institution. CDFIs share a common goal of expanding economic opportunity in low-income communities by providing access to financial products and services for local residents and businesses.

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