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

Scroll down to find the application link for each grant category and click 'Submit' to start the application process.  To begin an application, 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.

Current and Upcoming Funding Opportunities:

  • Native American Business Advisor (NABA) Grant application period June 21 to July 31, 2018
  • Indian Equity Fund application period July 1 to September 28, 2018
  • Tribal Business Planning Grant application period July 1 to September 28, 2018

Additional information can be found in our program guidelines at:


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.


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


ELIGLBLE APPLICANTS: Enrolled members of federally recognized tribes in Montana and enrolled members of the Little Shell Tribe in Montana.


DEADLINES: September 29, 2018




  • Tribal Enrollment Documentation (applications are considered incomplete without this information)
  • Business Registration Documentation (if available)
  • Key Business Personnel Resume(s) (high level, one page at most)
  • Matching Funds Verification (i.e. loan documents, inventory list, KBB valuation)
  • Historical Business Financials (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.


  • Existing Business Cash Flow Template: paste the following link into your browser: 
  • Start-up Business Cash Flow Template: paste the following link into your browser:
  • W-9 Form (required to recieve funds from the State of Montana): paste the following link into your browser:
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Form: paste the following link into your browser:  Use this form to receive reimbursed funds directly into a checking or savings account.  Must be accompanied by a canceled or voided check or a deposit slip.

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 Centers (SBDC) Network, located throughout the state, can provide assistance.  Contact Phil Belangie at (406) 721-3663 or for more information.



  • 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.




  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 PLAN- What are the products and services that the value proposition is built around?  Who is the target market and customer segment?  How do the target market and the value proposition match?
  6. MATCH QUALITY- Is the match business or farm machinery, equipment, furniture, or fixtures? Is the match land/buildings, inventory, accounts receivable, or other assets dedicated to the business? What is the market value, unpaid balance and depreciated cost of these items? If using a business vehicle as match, equity must be documented.  For example, if the vehicle has a Kelly Blue Book value of $18,000 and the applicant has an unpaid balance of $12,000, the in-kind match of the vehicle is $6,000.
  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- for what will the funds be utilized?
  9. 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.


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.

A full copy of the guidelines can be obtained at:


Montana Dept. of Commerce