Are you planning to start your own business, but your finances are limited? If you're a Native American, you may apply for grants, scholarships and other types of financial aid. Both public and private organizations offer grants for Native Americans and other minorities. Depending on the grant requirements, you may use the money to finance a new business, expand your business or continue your education.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Start your search on grants.gov. Filter the results to see what grants are available for Native Americans. Other helpful resources are the Administration for Native Americans, the American Indian Education Fund and First Nations, which offer scholarships, business grants and consulting services.
Apply for Government Grants
The United States is home to more than 2.9 million American Indians and Alaska natives, according to the National Congress of American Indians. Each year, approximately one out of 10 becomes a victim of violent crime. Only 5% have received graduate or professional degrees. This ethnic group has the highest poverty rates.
Many Native Americans find it difficult to start a business venture due to a lack of capital and social support. The good news is that a growing number of organizations are offering free money in the form of grants. As a Native American, you may apply for a grant to buy food and other essentials, pay your bills, purchase a house or launch your own business. Government grants don't need to be repaid, but they must be used for specific purposes, and they have strict conditions and require extensive paperwork.
The Administration for Native Americans offers grants of up to $37.1 million to Native American communities. This money can be used to preserve Native American languages, help people save for a small business or education and improve social and economic development. The Native American Research Centers for Health provide funding for research projects linked to the health concerns expressed by tribal communities, while Temporary Assistance for Needy Families supports low-income families with money, educational resources and counseling.
Business Grants for Native Americans
Whether you want to open a small store, launch a consulting business or develop new products, it's worth applying for a business grant. Head over to grants.gov or search for "Native American free money" online to see what grants are available. For instance, if you're planning to restore a centuries-old house that belonged to your ancestors, search for historic building renovation grants.
Reach out to First Nations if you're interested in business grants for Native Americans. The organization offers funds for economic development to Native American tribes and nonprofits. It has awarded 1,648 grants worth over $35 million to Native American projects in 2019 alone.
Another helpful resource is the U.S. Small Business Administration. Although it doesn't offer loans or free money, it connects business owners and entrepreneurs to private and public organizations that offer financial help. Applicants who qualify for a grant may also receive guidance for running their business. You may also want to check out the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, a nonprofit organization that provides business training, consulting, contract and subcontract opportunities and assistance to Native American entrepreneurs.
Continue Your Education
Business ownership comes with its challenges. Anyone can start a business, but getting it off the ground and turning it into a successful venture is the hard part. That's why it's important to learn the ins and outs of your industry and invest time in your education. There are plenty of organizations that offer grants for Native Americans who wish to return to school, take courses or enroll in training programs.
SallieMae, for instance, features over 5 million college scholarships, including need-based and merit-based college grants. All you have to do is register as a member and search for grants that meet your needs.
The American Indian Education Fund also offers education grants worth nearly $450,000 each year. Students can apply for graduate or undergraduate scholarships. Those who qualify receive grants of $1,000 to $2,000, which are paid directly to their college or university.
- National Congress of American Indians: Indian Country Demographics
- Administration for Native Americans: ANA Grants $37.1 Million to Native American Communities
- National Institute of General Medical Sciences: Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH)
- Office of Family Assistance: About TANF
- Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs: Historic Renovation Grant Program
- First Nations: Grantmaking
- USA.gov: Finance Your Business
- SallieMae: Grants for College
- American Indian Education Fund: Scholarships
- Grants for Native Americans: Education Grants for Native Americans
- Partnership With Native Americans: 5 Native American Funding Facts
- Grants.gov: Exploring Eligibility: Federal Grants for Native American Tribal Governments and Organizations
- American Indian Education Fund: Graduate Scholarships - How to Apply
- Native Americans in Philanthropy: Funding Opportunities