Native Americans Needs More Than SBA Express Loans to Become Business Operators
While Native Americans (American Indians) are generally considered as first human inhabitants of the United
States, business opportunities are not that many. Although some American Indians found success in running
casinos, most are struggling to find a foothold in the world of commerce and industry. In a recent survey
conducted by the Small Business Administration (SBA), only 1% of the whole population of Indians in the United
States own and operate their own enterprise.
Although the SBA has provided business financing opportunities like the SBA Express small business loans to
minorities, American natives included, there are barriers in place which prevents American Indians to become
successfully small business owners and operators. For some, it will take more than just SBA Express loans
for Natives to enter the world micro enterprising.
While many members of the minorities have been helped by the SBA Express financing initiative and other
financing programs by the government to start and run their own business, the same cannot be said about
Native Americans. Unless the “barriers” are in place, it will be quite difficult for Native Americans as a whole to
really establish their own ventures. And these barriers are difficult to remove because of the culture rooted
among American Indian communities.
Most who live in reservations do not have immediate exposure to entrepreneurial knowledge and therefore, are
not quite in the position to acquire the necessary skills and experience to become business owners. Another
glaring factor is the huge distance between markets and Indian reservations. Even with SBA Express loans, a
small business won’t weather the storm if it is not immediately accessible to potential customers. Tribal
factionalism and instability of political structure that govern Native American reservations are also among the few
factors why natives seldom find success in getting started with their own business.
So what can the US Government do aside from providing express SBA loans if they aim to better the lives of our
American Indian brothers and sisters? According to the Indian Affairs’ Division of Economic Development, they
are currently seeking out effective strategies that would foster stronger economic ties within tribal governments
and provide basic and advanced entrepreneurial training to qualified American Indians who want to establish and
steer their businesses.
The US Government may continue to offer SBA Express funds and other financing programs for Native
American-owned business startups. But unless drastic measures are made and enforced, SBA Express loans
and the like will only be a privilege enjoyed by a few.