Citi Foundation has awarded the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance (SDIBA) a $141,000 grant to promote Native entrepreneurship. The grant will be used to establish SDIBA’s Expanding Native Entrepreneurship Initiative (ENEI), which is designed to support the development of independent Native-owned businesses on the nine American Indian reservations in South Dakota. SDIBA, founded in 2007, is a coalition of tribal representatives, business owners, nonprofit organizations, state agencies, and other interested parties that works to cultivate effective and efficient business environments in South Dakota’s Indian Country.
The ENEI will create a statewide loan fund to provide microloans and technical assistance to aspiring Native entrepreneurs. The initiative’s services will be delivered by SDIBA members and the three certified Native community development institutions, or CDFIs, in South Dakota: Four Bands Community Fund on the Cheyenne River Reservation, Hunkpati Investments on the Crow Creek Reservation, and Lakota Funds on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The three Native CDFIs in South Dakota typically focus on their home reservations, but plan to extend their geographic reach in order to provide ENEI loans and services to all nine reservations in the state.