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Hickenlooper, Lummis, Hirono, Mullin Introduce Bill to Give Native American Small Businesses a Seat at the SBA Table

Apr 4, 2023

Bill would establish an Associate Administrator position and dedicates funding at SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper, Cynthia Lummis, Mazie Hirono, and Markwayne Mullin introduced legislation to increase the representation and financial resources available to Native American small-business owners. The SBA Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA) Enhancement and Modernization Act  would ensure funding for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Native Americans Affairs, increasing ONAA’s ability to offer tailored support to Native American entrepreneurs. The bill would also establish a new Associate Administrator position in the Office of Native American Affairs reporting directly to the SBA’s Administrator.

“Native American owned small businesses deserve to be heard,” said Hickenlooper. “This bill creates a literal seat at the SBA table to make sure those businesses have the funding they need to help them succeed.”

“Programs assisting tribal small business owners mean nothing if they are not administered well,” said Senator Lummis.“The Native American Entrepreneurial and Opportunity Act I introduced with Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO) will increase access to federal programs to support tribal entrepreneurs in Wyoming as they build their businesses.”

“As we work to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in Hawaii and across the country, it’s critical that we prioritize Native-owned businesses,”said Senator Hirono.“I’m proud to join Senators Hickenlooper, Lummis, and Mullin in introducing the Native American Entrepreneurial and Opportunity Act to establish an Office of Native American Affairs within the Small Business Administration and enable SBA to better serve Native American businesses, including Native Hawaiian businesses.”

“I’m glad to join Sen. Hickenlooper as an original cosponsor of the Native American Entrepreneurial and Opportunity Act,” said Senator Mullin.“Small businesses drive the American economy, and the same is true in Indian Country. The Small Business Administration should be equipped with the tools it needs to help Native business owners thrive, and this bill is a step in the right direction.”

The SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs is designed to empower Native American entrepreneurs by making sure business owners can access the SBA’s full range of business development and financial tools. However, the office’s outreach and influence is currently limited due to a lack of funding.

If passed, the bill would bolster the resources available to Native American entrepreneurs by:

  • Creating predictable ONAA funding so that ONAA resources can support more Native American small-business owners.
  • Hiring an Associate Administrator to helm ONAA and provide effective policy leadership.

Full text of the bill is available HERE.


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