Calling All American Indian Entrepreneurs
By Carroll Griffin Cocchia, President, Native American Chamber of Commerce
The Federal Government encourages American Indian entrepreneurs, by offering special assistance, such as the very popular "Buy Indian" program, where incentives are offered to the government's own suppliers to purchase and use American Indian products and services.
While this program is in effect---it offers even a bit more insurance that the government supplier will be given special consideration for a contract, if he also uses American Indian workers, thru the federal WIA employment program. This program works like a staffing service, where each tribe locates and trains their members in different job skills-such as clerical, telemarketing, manual crafts, etc---and then, upon being called-- sends them to an employer, who is looking for a worker with those qualifications. The special bonus of this program is that the WIA pays the worker's salary for the first month---they share it with the employer in the second month---and then, if all is agreeable on both sides-the employer begins paying their full salary in the third month. So, without making a full financial investment in a worker---this program allows an employer a full two months to monitor the worker's progress, assess his abilities, then make a very educated decision as to whether or not the Native employee is qualified for the position.
For Native contractors, the Department of Defense is offering a special 5% incentive to General Contractors, who utilize Native sub-contractors, thus paying the partnership back 5% of the amount of the contract, for working together on a job, which is very useful for the extra assistance it offers.
So, if you are an American Indian, and you wish to begin, expand, or grow your business---do take advantage of the agencies and resources that are available to you, such as the regional PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Centers) -who offer invaluable assistance, advice, and service for every aspect of your quest. Utilize the SBA for special loans and funding available for American Indians, as well as for their expert advice in building your business. Call the Native American Chamber of Commerce , the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development , the Native American Business Alliance , United Indian Development Agency ---and don't ever forget your local community college, where inexpensive business seminars and classes are always there for you. Owning your own successful business does not have to remain a dream---when you have all these people, programs, and resources available to help you make it a reality.