INDIAN COUNTRY PROGRAMS

The Office of Indian Country Economic Development at the Montana Department of Commerce offers a variety of technical assistance and grant programs targeted towards economic development projects that strengthen the economy of and tourism to tribal nations in Montana through the development and enhancement of tourism offerings and business opportunities on reservations, in tribal communities, and for Native American businesses. 

Current grant applications, reporting forms, or opportunities will be listed below.  Scroll down to find the appropriate submission link and click on 'Submit' to begin the online process.  First time users of the Submittable™ platform will be prompted to create a required profile for application submission.  For additional information on each announcement, click on the 'More' down arrow button next to each announcement.

To begin an application, scroll to the bottom and click on the 'Submit' button.  1st time users of the Submittable™ platform will be prompted to create a required profile for application submission.

For more information, click on the IEF GUIDELINES:  

PURPOSE: Assist start-up or expanding Native American businesses in Montana.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: Enrolled members of federally recognized tribes in Montana.

DEADLINE: Applications must be received by midnight August 31, 2022 to be considered for funding.

INFORMATION TO GATHER AND UPLOAD WITH THE APPLICATION:

  • Tribal Enrollment Documentation (applications are considered incomplete without this information)
  • Business Registration Documentation (if available)
  • Worker's Compensation Insurance or Independent Contractor Certification - ICEC (if available)

Note: Any files for upload must be closed prior to uploading.


FORMS TO COMPLETE AND UPLOAD FOR APPLICATION: Download complete, save to a local drive, and upload with application.

  1. Business Cash Flow Template (Excel)
  2. W-9 Form (required to receive funds from the State of Montana)
  3. Direct Deposit Sign-up Form 

These forms are in addition to documents of the previous section will need to be uploaded with the application.  Note: Any files for upload must be closed prior to uploading.

APPLICATION ASSISTANCE: Applicants are required to understand his or her business model, typically found within a business plan.  The Native American Business Advisor (NABA) network can be utilized for technical assistance in completing this application. Additionally, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, located throughout the state, can provide assistance.  Contact Luke Robinson at (406) 841-2775 or Luke.Robinson@MT.GOV for more information.

ELIGIBLE USE OF GRANT FUNDS (BUT NOT LIMITED TO):

  •  Purchase of land, building and equipment.
  • Purchase of assets including furnishings, equipment and technology.
  • Selected use of working capital for business operations.

Existing business owners must show how the funding will support growth in their business either through the development of a new project or with the existing business strategy.

MATCHING FUNDS REQUIREMENT: The requested grant funds require a minimum of dollar to dollar cash or in-kind match ($1:$1) and must be firmly committed and documented in the application.

  • Cash match may include collateral such as cash or loan proceeds from a tribal loan fund, a micro loan program, or a commercial lender.  
  • In kind match may include inventory, supplies, equipment, tools or vehicles that are part of the activity of the business.

REVIEW CRITERIA FOR APPLICATIONS:

  1. APPLICATION QUALITY- Is the application complete, clear and logical, proofread for spelling, and/or mathematical errors?
  2. APPLICANT BUSINESS EXPERIENCE- Does the applicant have experience in the business that is proposed in the application?  Or does the applicant demonstrate in the application that they have the capacity to endure a business start-up and make sustainable business decisions?
  3. FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS- Are the financial projections understandable?  Is the growth rate of the business representative of realistic market demand and business capacity?  For established businesses, have the most current financials been provided and explained?
  4. OPERATIONS- Are the operational aspects (partners, suppliers, production costs, key resources, and pricing structure) of the business identified in the application?
  5. MARKETING- What are the products and services that the business is built around?  Who is the target market and customer segment?  Have the products and services that are being offered by the business been tied to a target market with a specific marketing (advertising) plan?
  6. MATCH QUALITY- Are the match items and amounts reasonable and appropriate to the business?  Only include match items and amounts (land, buildings, inventory, accounts receivable, or other assets) whose primary purpose is for the operation of the business.
  7. FINANCIAL NEED- The fund is designed to assist the new business start-up and or the growing small business that demonstrates a financial need in their application.
  8. USE OF FUNDS-  Specifically describe for what the grant funds will be utilized.
  9. BUSINESS LOCATION & ECONOMIC IMPACT- The intent of the Indian Equity Fund is to increase access to capital resources for Native American-owned businesses located on a reservation or in tribal communities in Montana.  Those applications that do not demonstrate either a primary location on or near a reservation or an impact on the reservation private sector will rank less competitively than applications that can demonstrate these impacts. 
  10. PREVIOUS RECIPIENTS- Previous Indian Equity Fund recipients will rank less competitively than applicants who have not received a previous award.  In addition, previous recipient applicants must provide a business status update and meet one of the following in their application: new technology; a new product or line of products; or a new service or services.

ONCE YOUR APPLICATION HAS BEEN SUBMITTED:
RECEIPT OF APPLICATION- Once submitted each application is assessed by the Program.  Applications that are incomplete or lack clarity can be opened for editing to the applicant if submitted with enough lead time prior to the deadline.  For feedback, submission prior to the deadline is encouraged.

 If you are currently managing a Native American Business Advisor (NABA) grant contract, please complete this online Midterm and Final NABA Grant Report Form.

After reviewing your contact information, select the 'Save Address and Continue' button.

When completing the report, you can select 'Submit' if you are ready to submit, or 'Save As Draft' if you need additional sessions to complete the report.

Remember to submit a payment request with this report if activities and expenditures have progressed as planned and reported. 

To begin an application, scroll to the bottom and click on the 'Submit' button.  1st time users of the Submittable™ platform will be prompted to create a required profile for application submission.  Returning users will be prompted to update their privacy settings.
For more information, click on the TBPG GUIDELINES:
PURPOSE:  The Tribal Business Planning Grants (TBPG) of the Indian Country Economic Development Program funding is intended to assist tribal governments in deploying comprehensive business planning strategies and activities.
ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS:    The governing bodies of each of Montana’s eight tribal governments are the only eligible applicants for this portion of the Program.  Note: If a tribal government fails to make application by the deadline, other Native American tribal organizations (other than the recognized tribal governments) may make application for the funding.  The tribal organization must be a legal entity in the State of Montana with the ability to enter into agreements or contracts.
GRANT AMOUNT: A maximum of $30,000 per fiscal year is available.  The Department retains sole and broad discretion over the use of any funds not applied for by an eligible governing body by September 30, 2022.
FORMS TO COMPLETE AND UPLOAD FOR APPLICATION: Download, complete, save to a local drive, and then upload with the application.

Information to gather before starting the application:

  • Tribal resolution authorizing application and specifying activity.

ELIGIBLE USES OF GRANT FUNDS:  Eligible activities include the following activities evidenced by tangible deliverables (i.e. ordinances, codes, business planning, study, and analysis documents, etc.):

  • Business plan development
  • Market analysis
  • Feasibility study
  • Physical business infrastructure planning, such as zoning
  • Legal and financial codification or ordinances benefiting business(es)

TBPG funds can be used to match other funding sources in the above areas as long as the funding is not duplicative.  The following activities will not be funded:

  • Operation and maintenance costs or expenses;
  • Financial expenses, included but not limited to interest expense, bond issuance costs, or any other debt-related costs or expenses;
  • Reimbursement for activities completed prior to application;
  • Reimbursement for activities not related to business planning; 
  • Duplicative reimbursement for activities receiving funding for the same services, equipment, or improvements through any other local, state, or federal grant or funding program, except as necessary to fully fund the project; or
  • Projects whose primary development will be a casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool.

REVIEW CRITERIA FOR APPLICATIONS:  The Program will first review the application for completeness and sufficiency.  During the review, the Program may contact the applicant to discuss any concerns or questions or to request additional information or documentation.  The Program may require additional information from the applicant to clarify information presented in the application.  Site visits by the Program may be made to the proposed project area for the purpose of verifying or further evaluating information contained in the application.
After the application is deemed complete and sufficient information is available to evaluate the proposed project(s), the application will be evaluated on the extent to which the project proposal meets the goals and objectives of the Program, using the following criteria:

  • Potential for the project to help applicants make more strategic decisions about the start-up, expansion, or diversification of a tribal enterprise or venture.
  • Likelihood that a specified feasibility study is of sufficient magnitude to have a significant economic impact on the future economic development of the reservation;
  • Likelihood that the specified planning activity will provide important or relevant guidance for decision making in the development of land, resources, business, financial or legal infrastructure.
  • Overall quality of the application, including measurable project goals, tasks, and activities, a well-developed work plan and budget, and easily identifiable deliverables.
  • Capability of the applicant to undertake and satisfactorily complete the project and ensure proper management and reporting of Program funds (i.e. use of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles- GAAP).

The Program will present the evaluation of each application to an internal Grant Review Committee.   The applicant can notify the Program if he/she would like to make a 10-minute presentation to the Grant Review Committee.  The Committee will review the application and make a preliminary funding recommendation to the Director of the Department, who makes the final funding decision.

RECEIPT OF APPLICATION AND GRANT NOTIFICATION:  Once a project has been approved by the Director, The Tribe will be notified of award.  A contract will be executed between the Department and the tribal government by a digital routing and signature process requiring a valid email for the digital execution of the contract by the tribal signatory.  If an application has not been approved, program staff will notify the authorized application preparer and will work with staff to modify or improve the application.

Office of Indian Country Economic Development