Success Stories

The Office of Indian Country Economic Development have helped hundreds of Native American businesses achieve success. We are excited to showcase the positive impacts our programs have made with native entrepreneurs across the state, as told from their perspectives. The businesses worked hard with our team and the Native American Business assistance (NABAs) to build and expand upon their business through the Indian Equity Fund.  

The Indian Equity Fund small business grant assists start-up or expanding Native American business in Montana. The money can be used for a variety of activities such as the purchase of new equipment or the development of a new product line.

View our most recent Indian Equity Fund successes by reservation below.

Paulas-Gifts.JPGPaula’s All Occasion Gifts, located in Browning, offers the community quality items, ranging from household appliances to specialty gifts. Owner Paula Augare opened the retail store in 2019. She has created two new jobs and is currently looking to hire more employees. Paula received a $14,000 grant to purchase inventory, equipment, and assist with new employee costs. Existing store inventory and equipment was used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

Owner Paula Augare said, “I have been able to purchase much needed supplies, and I will be able to keep providing the community with most of their needs, so they do not have to travel 100-plus miles.”

Skunkcap-Painting.pngSkunkcap Painting, located in Cut Bank, provides interior and exterior painting services for residential and commercial properties. Owner Keith Skunkcap received a grant for $6,700 to purchase equipment, including a new paint sprayer and other painting tools. Existing work tools were used to meet the one-to-one match requirement. Keith’s daughter drew the skunk used on his business card.

Sunshine Woman CreationsSunshine Woman Creations, located in East Glacier, produces and sells tipis (also known as lodges). Owner Summer Kennerly started the business in early 2020 employing skills and traditional designs passed down from generation to generation of Blackfeet.

Summer received a $5,300 grant to purchase a new sewing machine and inventory, which prepared her for the busy sales season. She used existing equipment such as an older sewing machine and inventory to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

“I achieved so much as a startup business all thanks to the Indian Equity Fund grant,” said Summer. “I bought my industrial sewing machine, which made my work more efficient and easier, and then started to produce lodges from the canvas material I purchased through this grant.”

Border Package PickupBorder Package Pickup, located 8 miles from the border in Babb, provides an affordable and convenient alternative to traditional shipping and receiving of packages between Canada and the U.S.

Owner Michelle Hannon’s family established the business 20 years ago. Their Canadian friends were their first customers, and the business expanded from there. Today, Michelle serves customers from across the region, even as far as Edmonton.

Border Package Pickup received a $3,750 grant to purchase a storage shed, which increased its capacity to store packages and in turn, increased hours for its part-time staff. The total cost of the new shed is $7,000, and the business paid the difference. A cash match requirement of one-to-one was also provided. With the border reopening from its pandemic closure, Border Package Pickup will be busier—but also more prepared for the demand—than ever.

EE-Tire.pngE&E Tire Repair is an automotive tire repair shop located in Box Elder. Owner Earl Nault started offering services in 2020. E&E received a $12,000 grant to purchase a tire machine, air compressor, and LED lighting. Equity in the shop, tools, and other equipment were used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

Binary-Computer-Repair.pngBinary Computer Repair is a mobile computer repair service based in Ronan. Owner Charles Wells received a grant for $14,000 to purchase a new mobile work trailer and to upgrade office equipment. A combination of work and personal vehicles was used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

Rebekah JarveyRebekah Jarvey of Havre uses her talents to produce authentic, handmade clothing and accessories such as ribbon skirts and face masks. She’s also a fourth-generation beadwork artist who learned from her grandmother and now is teaching her son.

Rebekah is a member of the Native American Made in Montana program and won Best in Show New Exhibitor at the 2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow.

Rebekah received a grant for $3,750 to purchase a new sewing machine and inventory to expand her business. A combination of cash and existing inventory and equipment were used for the one-to-one match requirement.

Nate's Gonna Fix ItNate’s Gona Fix It is an automotive repair shop in Havre specializing in diagnosis and repair of most vehicle systems.

Owner Nathan Chandler has more than 20 years of experience, and the next lead technician has more than seven. Both have been certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), with Chandler receiving Master Technician status.

Nate’s Gona Fix It received a $14,000 grant, which covered more than half the cost of a complete Hunter brand alignment lift rack with the necessary components, which is increasing the business’s capacity to serve customers and hire another technician. A one-to-one match requirement was provided in the form of a work truck.

Cahoon-Construction-Fire.pngCahoon Construction and Fire specializes in general construction, dirt work, and wildland firefighting services. Located in Charlo, Cahoon Construction is owned by Francis Cahoon, who has over 20 years of experience in each of these industries. Cahoon is also registered as an independent contractor, and is Historically Underutilized Business Zone certified. The business received a grant for $10,000 to purchase a flatbed trailer to haul more equipment. Existing equipment and a skid steer were used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

Flathead-Raft.jpgFlathead Raft, located in Polson, is a rafting company that provides whitewater and scenic floats on the lower Flathead River. Tammy Fragua purchased the business in the early 2000’s and has expanded the products and services. She received a grant for $14,000 to purchase rafting equipment and a new kayak trailer. Equity in real property was used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

“It was hard to find products created and sold in Montana, and the current supply chain issues made it hard to find these goods at all,”
said owner Tammy Fragua. “So, timing and supply were an issue. However, the administrators of this program were understanding and great to work with.”

Blue Bay Trading PostBlue Bay Trading Post, located northeast of Polson and owned by Steve Dupuis, is expanding from its 4th of July and New Year’s Eve fireworks specialty into a convenience store with boating, camping, and fishing supplies for visitors recreating at the adjacent Blue Bay Campground.

Blue Bay Trading Post provided a cash match and received a $10,000 grant to purchase signage and equipment such as freezers.

Total Screen DesignTotal Screen Design is a textile and embroidery business in Polson.

Before COVID-19, Total Screen Design employed 11 people. The pandemic caused the staff to drop to only 5 for a period of time, but now the business is back on track with 9 employees and counting.

With a $3,750 grant, Total Screen Design purchased a new print dryer, which will expand its capacity to fulfill orders and support the growth of its workforce. A one-to-one match was provided in the form of an existing print machine and conveyor screen print dryer.

This grant tremendously helped a Native owned business get through and grow,” said owner Steve Lozar.

Bomb-cha-achik.pngBomb'cha'achik, based in Pryor, is a food truck owned by Dominic Old Elk. He received a grant for $14,000 to purchase a new food truck. Work trucks, a trailer, and existing food truck equipment were used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

Metal SolutionsMetal Solutions is a startup welding and fabrication business in Billings.

Metal Solutions received a $14,000 grant to purchase equipment, including a flatbed truck and welder. The one-to-one match requirement was met with an existing truck and equipment. Owner Titus Takes Gun says that with the new equipment, he’s now fully equipped to pursue government contracts.

Diamond Hanging 7 Guest RanchDiamond Hanging 7 Guest Ranch in Pryor welcomes visitors from across the U.S. and Europe, who enjoy its unique blend of Native American culture, western style, and outdoor adventures. It attracts visitors attending Crow Fair and other community events as well as birthday parties, family reunions, weddings, and more.

With a $12,000 grant, the ranch is remodeling, upgrading, and repairing its existing cabins and other guest facilities. The ranch’s existing cabins were used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

Against All OddsAgainst All Odds serves the Fort Belknap and Billings communities with lumber/sawmill services such as lumber sales, tree trimming and removal, and woodworking.

Owner Travis Wing started the business from the ground up by purchasing a logger blade. By assembling it himself, he became fully aware of how to maintain, repair, and troubleshoot issues.

Travis received a $14,000 grant to put toward the purchase of a new skid steer after meeting the one-to-one match requirement with existing equipment, machinery, and vehicles. He plans to grow further by pursuing contract work.

Killeagle ConstructionKillEagle Construction of Dodson is a family business specializing in custom carpentry and providing other contracted services such as concrete, framing, roofing, and siding.

Clayton KillEagle received a grant for $12,000, which contributed to the purchase of a new three-quarter-ton pickup truck to haul a covered trailer, which the business uses to transport materials. With the new equipment, KillEagle is able to transport more materials more efficiently. Work vehicles were used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

Redgrave-Education-Services.JPGRedgrave Education is an educational business located in Billings and is owned by Crystal Redgrave who holds a master’s degree in Instructional Design and a Ph.D. in Curriculum. Redgrave received a grant for $3,750 to purchase a new computer. A vehicle was used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

“I continue to create Assiniboine language curriculum, which includes writing lesson plans, drawing images, I have developed a scope and sequence for two levels, which includes 4 years of Assiniboine language study I created an online education portal using a LMS, Learning Management System,” said Redgrave. “I continue to develop Native American cultural-based curriculum and instructional resources. The work is for preparing Redgrave Education, LLC to move into curriculum Sales in addition to educational consultation,” Redgrave added.

Whatever-Construction.pngWhatever Construction is a general contracting business owned by Harlin Burshia. Located in Wolf Point, the company is dedicated to building “whatever” the customer wants and taking care of their needs, hence the name. The company received a grant for $12,000 to purchase a trailer and tools to transport and increase mobile service capacity. A cash match met the one-to-one requirement.

Turcotte Food BusTurcotte Food Bus, based in Wolf Point, started as a hobby. Over the past decade, owner Buck Turcotte has turned it into a growing business.

Turcotte received a $14,000 grant to purchase a new food bus and new commercial kitchen equipment. An existing trailer, truck, and equipment satisfied the one-to-one match requirement. With the new set up, Turcotte plans to grow the catering side of the business.

For the Turcotte family, the Indian Equity Fund small business grant had a ripple effect as Buck sold the food bus he previously used to his nephew to help him get started with his own business.

Redbyrd DesignsRedbyrd Designs of Glasgow is a community of members who enjoy crafting and painting, especially as a therapeutic retreat from the day-to-day stresses of life.

With a $14,000 grant, Redbyrd Designs purchased an industrial laser cutter for producing DIY craft kits. With its new equipment, the business is better positioned to serve more customers and may even tap into the wholesale market. A cash match and an existing laser cutter were used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

We are so grateful for the opportunity that this program has given us,” said owner Byrdie Larsen. “This has been a dream of ours to scale our business to the point where we needed a large production laser, but it was always down the road. So this program has expedited our timeline and made this dream come true. We’d like to thank everyone including the review committee, everyone in OICED, and special thanks to Mark Sansaver with GNDC, who helped with the process, stepped in, and held hands and helped overcome fears.

TS-Cattle.pngTS Cattle Processing Company, located in East Glacier, is owned by Sadie Harwood. The company received a grant for $13,333.34 to purchase a new skid steer to help with logistics and maintenance of the processing facility. A cash match was used to meet the one-to-one requirement.

MJL PropertiesMJL Properties is a commercial housing business located in Havre.

Owner Jane Leinwand has owned the property for several years and used her $13,333 grant to upgrade the heating and cooling system to be more energy efficient for the tenants. MJL Properties satisfied the one-to-one match requirement with a combination of cash and equity.

McGillis AlignmentMcGillis Alignment Repair in Black Eagle doesn’t advertise except by word of mouth, but it’s still well known to the community for doing a little bit of (almost) everything.

The business received a grant for $13,333, which contributed to the cost of an alignment rack. With the new equipment, owner David McGillis is able to work on newer and larger vehicles, which didn’t fit the older and smaller alignment rack.

This is the second expansion for McGillis Alignment Repair, which previously received a $7,000 grant to assist with gaining access to water for the shop. A cash match was used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

Rosebud-Tipi.pngRosebud Tipi Campground is owned by April Martin and is located three miles off of Highway 212 near Busby. The campground offers multiple tipi sites, a tenting green, three RV spots, and a “glamping” area as well. April received a grant for $10,000 to purchase tipis, improve RV spots with updated sewer and water hookups, and install showers.

Owner April Martin said, “After a ton of hard work and with many COVID restrictions and shortages of supplies, we put in new water lines, electric lines, and launched a new business. Thank you!”

Josh-Sioux-Welding.pngJosh Sioux Welding is a startup welding company located in Lame Deer. Owner, Josh Sioux received a $14,000 grant to purchase a new welder for $20,000, of which he paid the difference. Cash on hand was used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

Mikes ToolboxMike’s Tool Box, owned by Donna Hurff, serves the Lame Deer community and surrounding area by providing affordably priced appliances, electronics, lumber, tools, and many other hardware store essentials.

The business received a $14,000 grant to help with the construction of a 50’ x 100’ pole barn to accommodate the expansion of the business and help with storage of large inventory. Existing equipment and inventory were used to meet the one-to-one match requirement.

Roxy's Rockin' Coffee ShopRoxy’s Rockin Coffee Shop has been a fixture of Ashland since it opened in 2014.

Originally serving from a small trailer, the business is now located at a permanent site right off U.S. 212.

Roxy’s received a grant for $5,750 to purchase a new espresso machine, which is helping the shop keep up with the growing demand both from local residents and from people who drive in from out of town in pursuit of high-quality coffee. Roxy used a trailer, equipment, inventory, and a work vehicle to meet the one-to-one match requirement.