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Governor Bullock Announces Grants to Grow and Expand 26 Native American Businesses

Thursday, June 30, 2016/Categories: Market MT, Funds Awarded, Indian Country

HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced 26 Native American business owners will receive $320,000 in grant funding to grow and expand their businesses.

Montana is seeing economic growth in all corners of the state, including in Indian Country,” said Governor Bullock. “Today’s announcement provides Native American businesses the tools and resources they need to grow and expand.

The funds are being made available through the Indian Equity Fund (IEF) Small Business Grant Program.

Marie Gussmann, owner of Gussman Enterprises, is one of the 26 business owners who will use the grant funding to build a stronger business. Gussman received funding to add a new workspace to her established brain-tanned leather manufacturing business.

We are very grateful for having the opportunity to receive this grant,” said Gussman. “This will allow us to expand our shop to improve the work process, making it more efficient. It will also improve the working conditions and will create additional workspace for more employees. A grant like this is a really great incentive to expand and grow.

Full List of Grant Recipients:


  • Sammy Bird, owner of P’ita Paintings, received $7,611 to remodel a studio workspace
  • Anna and Tom Crawford, owners of Feather Woman Mountain Adventures, received $13,700 to build remote guest cabins for their outdoor recreation business
  • Marie Gussman, co-owner of Gussman Enterprises, received $14,000 to add an additional workstation to her natural leather tanning business
  • Alger Swingley, owner of Blackfeet Tours, received $14,000 to purchase a 24-passenger tour bus for his tour guide business

Chippewa Cree

  • Sonny Belcourt, owner of Centennial Café, received $14,000 to purchase equipment and inventory for his startup fast/casual restaurant that will serve traditional foods

Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes

  • Mervyn Camel, owner of NW Construction and Abatement, received $14,000 for specialized equipment, training and employee certifications for his hazardous remediation business
  • Boyd Caudill, owner of Caudill Industries, LLC, received $12,000 for a trailer and equipment for his mobile auto and industrial repair/fabrication business
  • Travis Irvine, owner of idSTUDIO, received $10,000 to purchase equipment and software to grow his professional architectural firm
  • Caroline Lozeau, owner of Caroline Antionette Photography, received $14,000 to complete an indoor photography studio, purchase equipment and obtain specialized training


  • Alden Big Man, owner of Big Man Ranch Company, received $14,000 for a tractor and mower to start up his hay and feed business
  • Theo Hugs, owner of River Crow Trading Post, received funds to design and market a special edition Crow/Apsaalooke Pendleton™ blanket
  • Patricia Huntley, owner of TruColors, received $14,000 to purchase a used work truck and trailer to grow her interior and exterior painting business
  • Rose Williamson, owner of Crow Camp/Indian Battle Tours, received $14,000 to build a teepee encampment to expand her cultural tour business

Fork Belknap Indian Community

  • Juanita Cole, owner of Juanita’s Machine Star Quilts, received $14,000 to purchase quilt manufacturing equipment
  • Breanne Main, owner of Main Event Photography, received $10,000 to purchase specialized equipment and training
  • Toby and Liz Werk, owners of Blue Heaven Guest Ranch, received $14,000 to build RV hookups and develop a business website

Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux

  • Yvonne Bashay, owner of RY Enterprise, received $4,100 to purchase an outbuilding to safely store construction equipment and materials in a temperature-controlled building
  • Elaine Boyd, owner of Rosa’s Embroidery, received $14,000 to purchase embroidery equipment to expand her star quilt manufacturing business
  • Raymond White Tail Feather, owner of Dakota Trading Post, received $10,589 to purchase a long-arm quilting machine and materials to expand his inventory and quilt finishing services

Little Shell

  • Deborah Dulaney, Little Shell, owner of Cottage Floral and Gifts, received $14,000 to replace a delivery van for her established floral business

Northern Cheyenne

  • Rowdy Alexander, owner of F Heart Ranch, received $10,500 for fencing and corrals to expand his natural horse training program
  • Daniel Big Man, owner of Mudzz Bucket Disposal, received $14,000 to purchase a sewage disposal truck and equipment
  • David Bixby, owner of 7XL Cattle, received $7,000 to purchase equipment for his Black Angus/Charolaise cross cattle operation
  • Ronald Burns, owner of Burns Burger Barn, received $14,000 to purchase a building and equipment for his fast/casual startup restaurant
  • Casey Fredericks, owner of C/F Welding, received funding to purchase a welder for a startup cattle guard fabrication, fencing and agricultural repair business
  • Whisper Kelly, owner of C Heart Ranch, received $14,000 to purchase a tractor for her cattle broker business

The IEF began in 2007 and has awarded more than $1 million to 158 business owners since its inception. The IEF Small Business Grant is a state-funded program administered by the MDOC. 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 MDOC 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

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.


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