HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock and Montana Department of Commerce Director Meg O’Leary announced a total of $320,000 in grant funding to twenty-seven Native American business owners to help grow and expand their businesses. The funds are being made available through the Indian Equity Fund (IEF) Small Business Grant Program. Eighty-five Native American businesses across Montana applied to the program this year.
“Montana leads the nation in developing economic equity and genuine solutions in Indian Country through state support of Native American-owned businesses,” said Governor Bullock. “These businesses are a reflection of the qualities that make Montana great and honor our oldest traditions of commerce, trade and prosperity.”
“Diversifying the economy on reservations and in our Native communities is critical to our long-term strategy to foster economic resiliency, opportunity and locally grown jobs in Indian Country,” said Director O’Leary. “By supporting small businesses with these grants and associated technical assistance programs, we’re seeding successful businesses where every job and revenue multiplier is critical. We’re excited to have such a significant response to the program. It means we’re putting resources where they’re needed most.”
Full List of Grant Recipients:
- Amy Running Fisher, owner of Two Medicine Scales, received $6,000 to purchase mobile livestock weigh scales. These funds will be matched to a loan from NACDC Financial Services.
- Bill Fenner, owner of Glacier View Cabins, received $7,000 to complete a rental cabin for accommodation near Duck Lake in Babb. These funds will be matched to a loan from NACDC Financial Services.
- Charles and Christina, co-owners of C and C Meats, received $6,000 to purchase tools and processing equipment for their butcher operation in Babb. These funds will be matched to a loan from NACDC Financial Services.
- Gary Racine, owner of R Snack Shop, received $7,000 to upgrade the layout to the kitchen and purchase new equipment. These funds will be matched to a loan from NACDC Financial Services.
- Paul McEvers, owner of McEvers Trucking, received $7,000 to purchase a belly dump trailer for his truck and trailer hauling operation specializing in hauling for road construction. These funds will be matched to a loan from NACDC Financial Services.
- Roland Gobert, owner of Glacier Gateway Vacation Rental, received $7,000 to purchase appliances and fixtures for his vacation accommodation. These funds will be matched to a loan from NACDC Financial Services.
- Michael Stone, owner of Stone Transportation, LLC, received $14,000 to purchase a flathead trailer to haul hay and diversify his hauling services to clients
- Michelle Kunnary, owner of The Survivor's Boutique in Helena, received $14,000 to purchase cancer prosthetic inventory and deploy a promotional campaign
- Nate Chandler, owner of Nate's Gonna Fix It, received $14,000 to purchase new exhaust and metal fabrication equipment for his auto repair business in Havre
- Steve and Jennifer Parker, owners of Parker’s BBQ Pit, received $14,000 to complete setup of their mobile food trailer with improved kitchen equipment and installation of plumbing and electrical systems
Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes
- Brian Haynes, owner of Double Dragon, LLC, received $14,000 for the completion of a small manufacturing building for the production of his Double Dragon Fingerboard
- Frank Finley, owner of 32 Pair of Scissors Studio, received $12,000 to purchase an etching press and accessories for small batch art print-making
- Keya Birdsbill, owner of Water People Tours, received $12,000 to purchase teepees and accessories for an encampment accommodation to enhance her tourism business
- Kathleen Carpenter, owner of CHiKKUiA Fashion, LLC, received $13,000 to purchase equipment, supplies and materials for her Native American clothing line
- Clinton Small, owner of Better Than Twine Fencing, received funds to purchase a dump trailer, skid steer tracks and fencing tools to help expand the season of the new fencing business earlier into spring and later into fall
Fork Belknap Indian Community
- Tammy and Greg Rider, owners of Yellow Bear Enterprises, received $11,000 to purchase portable toilets to offer at events on and near the Fort Belknap Reservation
- Shanna Stack, owner of Stack Speech Therapy Group, LLC, received $14,000 to purchase specialized Fiber-optic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) equipment, training and accessories for her and her staff located in Missoula
Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux
- Bruce Damon, owner of Baby Got Back BBQ, received $14,000 to start a new standalone mobile food truck serving specialty barbecue meats and side dishes in northeastern Montana
- Cleo MacDonald, owner of Cleo MacDonald's Organic Garden, received $13,000 to purchase and install a wheel line irrigation system on her 40-acre alfalfa and organic garden venture
- Del First, owner of Da'kota O'wizan, received $13,000 to complete a building remodel and complete the purchase of equipment and materials for his quilt-making business
- Alisa Herodes, owner of Dimensions, LLC, received $14,000 to purchase a delivery van and display cabinetry for her cabinet design and sales firm in Great Falls
- Dianna Grantham, owner of a counseling practice in Billings, received $10,000 to purchase equipment, promotional materials and marketing activities to extend her services into six rural counties surrounding Billings, focusing on access to mental health services for American Indians, veterans and rural communities
- Karee Azure-Takes Horse, owner of the Takes Horse Gallery in Polson, received $14,000 to renovate, market and purchase equipment for her business that specializes in upscale Native American artwork in various media including metalwork, feather painting, star quilts, woven baskets, traditional flutes, beadwork and other visual arts
- Denise and Sierra Alexander, mother/daughter owners of Warrior Trail Jewelry and Gifts, received $14,000 to start a new jewelry and gift shop on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in the new business incubator located in Lame Deer. The funds will be used to purchase inventory from area artists and craftspeople.
- Michelle Dennis, owner of Michelle's Munchies, received $14,000 to make building improvements to her fast food and video store located in Ashland
- Mike Speelman, owner of Speelman Construction, received $12,000 to purchase equipment for his construction company
- Lafe and Lujuana Haugen, owners of Medicine Bear Industries, LLC, received $14,000 to purchase tools and equipment for their expanding auto repair service and supplies business
The IEF began in 2007 and has awarded more than $1 million to 185 business owners since its inception. The IEF Small Business Grant is a state-funded program administered by the DOC. Funding is utilized from the Indian Country Economic Development program via the recommendation of the State Tribal Economic Development Commission and the approval of the DOC director.
For more information about the Indian Equity Fund Small Business Grant, please contact Philip Belangie, Indian Entrepreneur Development Program Manager, at 406.721.3663, or visit indiancoutry.mt.gov.
The Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development markets Montana’s spectacular unspoiled nature, vibrant and charming small towns, breathtaking experiences, relaxing hospitality, and competitive business climate to promote the state as a place to visit and do business.