Oweesta has been awarded one of eight Tier-1 national grants of $5 million as part of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Community Navigator Pilot Program aimed at reaching small businesses for stronger economic recovery efforts. Following a hub-and-spoke model, Oweesta is partnering with twenty-seven Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to serve Native businesses and entrepreneurs on reservations and urban environments across seventeen states (spokes are listed below).
Acting as a “hub,” Oweesta will serve as a centralized, lead organization and leverage our long-standing relationships with grassroots Native CDFIs as “spokes.” Oweesta will be partnering with the regional CDFI, MoFI, to provide training and peer-to-peer learning opportunities for Native CDFIs participating in the program. Through this model, government resources will be more effectively distributed to reach small business owners and entrepreneurs. Research shows that the amount of Native-owned business is scarce in today’s market due to structural barriers Native businesses and entrepreneurs face in business ownership and creation. Rooted within the communities, Native CDFIs are instrumental in reaching underserviced Native communities and providing culturally relevant, economic development services.
“The Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized building our small business ecosystems back better so that all of our entrepreneurs have a fair shot at achieving the American dream of business ownership,” said Administrator Guzman. “We need to meet businesses where they are with resources to start, grow and be resilient, and the Community Navigator Pilot Program will power a trusted network of community partners to connect America’s entrepreneurs with the SBA. The program’s Community Navigators will develop strong relationships with deeply trusted community-based organizations that will tap into one-on-one, targeted support from programs designed to help them create jobs and drive innovation.”
Through this grant, Oweesta and the twenty-seven Native CDFI spokes will provide additional business management training and technical assistance, including business planning, financial statement preparation, and marketing assistance. “Native CDFIs have long been the backbone of small business support in their communities. Oweesta is proud to partner with our Native CDFI partners, MoFI, and the Small Business Administration to increase access to technical assistance and training for Native entrepreneurs around the country,” said Chrystel Cornelius, CEO of the Oweesta Corporation.
Read the full SBA statement.