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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Economic Development Administration Invests $750,000 to Support Native American Entrepreneurs in South Dakota

WASHINGTON – U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams visited the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota today to announce that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $750,000 grant to Artspace Projects, Inc., to help fund the Oglala Lakota Arts and Business Incubator. According to the grantee, this project will create 100 jobs for Native American artisan entrepreneurs and small business owners over the next nine years.

“For 50 years, EDA grants have helped remove economic barriers and attract capital to Indian country, addressing a broad array of needs,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams. “Over the past five years EDA has awarded nearly $48 million in assistance to Indian tribes to create businesses, build roads and other infrastructure, and develop economic development plans. The EDA grant announced today demonstrates our continued support for our nation’s tribal communities.”

“Over the last three decades Artspace has led an accelerating national movement of arts-driven community transformation that creates fundamental social change,” said Kelly Lindquist, President of Artspace Projects Inc. “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with First Peoples Fund and Lakota Funds on the Oglala Lakota Arts and Business Incubator to build the capacity of Native artists for the benefit of the entire community.”

“Nearly 80% of home-based businesses on Pine Ridge are comprised of tradition based arts,” said Lori Lea Pourier, President of First Peoples Fund. “We know art is a strong economic driver for Native people. If we provide a space for them to receive training, it will improve their income, and change their life.”

EDA’s investment will help fund the construction of a reservation-based incubator space for Native American artisan entrepreneurs. The facility will also offer business services to new and emerging Native artisan businesses. According to the grantee, the Oglala Lakota Arts and Business Incubator will serve five Native American enterprises, establish two anchor businesses that will aid and assist in incubator tenants through established programs, and provide space for non-incubator tenants and home-based Native entrepreneurs and artists who will receive training in business practices.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The Economic Development Administration marks 50 years of public service, leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.