Indian entrepreneurs hope to pass on success

First-generation Indian entrepreneurs in South Dakota are hoping their success stories will inspire a new generation into launching businesses on the reservation.

The number of Indian-owned reservation businesses is small but their ranks are growing. Helping them to succeed are groups like the Four Bands Community Fund, which has made $140,000 in small loans over the past four years to help tribal members start and expand their operations.

Elsie Meeks, the executive director of First Nations Oweesta Corporation, says entrepreneurship is new to many in Indian Country. "In a way, we sold poverty. Tribes sold poverty, because that's how we got our funding," she said at a recent Four Bands event, The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

But there is a shift in thinking that Meeks and others hope to tap into. Oweesta was recently awarded a $2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to increase private businesses on two reservations in South Dakota and one in Wyoming.

Get the Story:
Tribal entrepreneurs share their success (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 5/9)

Relevant Links:
Four Bands Community Fund -
American Indian Business Leaders -
First Nations Oweesta Corporation -