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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $3.1 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Entrepreneurship on the Mille Lacs Band Reservation in Minnesota

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.1 million grant to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Onamia, Minnesota, to construct a new Tribal business incubator to support entrepreneurs. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan’s Indigenous Communities program.

This investment is a good example of EDA’s commitment to Indigenous communities, as well as to addressing Equity as one of its top investment priorities. This grant will provide a space for start-ups and other Tribal businesses to operate and access technical assistance to help them grow. The EDA investment is expected to create 75 jobs and generate $2 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“President Biden is committed to ensuring that our communities are provided with the resources they need to diversify and grow their economies,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe business incubator project will spur private investment and job creation throughout the reservation.”

“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to support their locally-driven strategies to recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This project will deliver critical resources to entrepreneurs on the Mille Lacs Band Reservation that will help diversify the local economy and build resiliency for decades to come.”

“This federal funding will make a real difference for the Mille Lacs Band Reservation, helping establish a business incubator that will boost small businesses and spur entrepreneurship,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “I’ll keep pushing to make sure our tribal communities have the resources they need to pursue economic opportunities.”

“Minnesota’s Tribal Nations have deep cultural and economic significance across our state,” said Senator Tina Smith. “I am pleased to announce this investment in the Mille Lacs Band reservation in Minnesota, which will help to grow and diversify the local economy. This investment, made possible by the American Rescue Plan, will create jobs and generate private investment so that the local economy can build back stronger in the wake of the pandemic.”

This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Indigenous Communities program, which allocates $100 million in American Rescue Plan funding specifically to support the needs of Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities. The program supports these partners to develop and execute economic development projects they need to recover from the pandemic and build economies for the future. Indigenous communities are also eligible and encouraged to apply under all of EDA’s other programs.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead 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 invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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