The United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency has awarded a $64,188 Rural Business Development Grant to Strengthen ND. They will use the grant to fund projects for North Dakota’s 5 Native Nations, and tribal members. This funding will help to build a strong and sustainable economy for communities both on and off the reservation, by building and growing businesses, and expanding tribal capacities.
Strengthen ND will be administering the grant through its Building Native Enterprises initiative. The goal is to invest time and resources into North Dakota’s rural communities thereby strengthening the economy. Using Capacity building (the process by which individuals and organizations obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge, tools, equipment, and other resources needed to do their jobs competently), they are starting and growing Native American businesses that are involved in providing tourism and travel-related products and services, including scenic tours, retail, arts and culture enterprises.
Tourism is the third-largest economic driver in North Dakota. Studies show that it is the greatest opportunity to diversify the economic base of Native Nations and develop a strong regional economy. According to able to Strengthen ND, tourism can weather any upcoming economic storms.
Stacey LaCompte, indigenous communications and tribal advocate with Strengthen ND, spoke on this grant award, and the Building Native Enterprises:
With the funding provided by USDA, Strengthen ND is able to provide one-on-one technical assistance for Native-led nonprofits, Native-owned small businesses, and tribal governments to create a more sustainable economy.
Additionally, we will be working with Native and non-Native agencies to cultivate stronger relationships and effective communications by leading workshops to build a bridge of communication in education and awareness between Native and non-Native cultures.”
Strengthen ND describes their organization as a dynamic, multi-faceted, and well-connected organization that works across North Dakota (ND) to elevate nonprofits and rural communities to support a high quality of life and resources for vulnerable populations through community development. They matched the grant funds received from USDA Rural Development growing the size of the project’s investment in North Dakota’s Native Nations to $90,954.