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Haskell receives grant to empower local Native American entrepreneurs, business students

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With help from a federal grant, Haskell Indian Nations University is establishing a center on campus dedicated to progressing local Native American-owned businesses.

The United States Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education announced in a recent news release that Haskell has received a Tribal College Small Business Achievement Grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The grant provides the university with $250,000 per year for up to five years.

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It’ll fund a new small business resource center, which will be called the Center of Entrepreneurial Indigenous Prosperity, on Haskell’s campus. The center’s mission will be to foster economic growth in Native American communities and beyond.

Mackie Moore, dean of the Haskell College of Business, said the grant will provide Native American entrepreneurs in northeast Kansas — especially those living in rural reservation areas — with access to resources. One aspect of the Center of Entrepreneurial Indigenous Prosperity will be designed to help small business owners thrive in digital spaces, from setting up online stores to using e-commerce solutions. 

“This grant will create new opportunities for the students and communities served by the university and expand the footprint of our mission,” Haskell President Frank Arpan said in the release. “The College of Business is making fantastic strides forward in its programming offerings and we are excited to see the college progress forward.”

Haskell students will also be able to learn from and work with startup businesses and existing companies because of the grant. Haskell College of Business will establish a business incubation program, which will support students with resources and mentorships. The university in turn hopes to transform aspiring entrepreneurs’ ideas into successful businesses.

Jessica Burghart, Haskell College of Business instructor, will serve as the Center of Entrepreneurial Indigenous Prosperity’s project director.

“My goal here at Haskell was always to create an environment where small businesses could be created and supported,” Burghart said in the news release. “I truly believe in Native entrepreneurs and their positive impact on Native communities.”

Read more on the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Education’s website, bie.edu. Contact Moore at mmoore@haskell.edu or Burghart at jburghart@haskell.edu for more information on the grant.

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