Mille Lacs loans give tribal businesses a boost

Minnesota State Roundup

Published May 1, 2001  | May 2001 issue

Thanks to revenues from two successful casino operations, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is financing a loan and training program for start-up businesses at least 60 percent owned by band members that may not qualify for traditional financing.

The low-interest loans go to businesses located anywhere in Minnesota or in Wisconsin close to Mille Lacs reservation land. In addition, home-based businesses can qualify for microloans to be used for equipment, inventory or other assets. Program staff also teach a marketing, accounting and management course, during which students complete a business plan.

The program, begun in 1996, has been cited by Harvard University as a model for other Indian development groups.

Kathy Cobb