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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, 2021 to be considered for funding.


  • 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.


  •  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- 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.


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.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.