Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Cherokee Nation Provides Entrepreneurial Assistance

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Cherokee Nation Provides Entrepreneurial Assistance

Article excerpt

A program has been developed by the Cherokee Nation to provide small business assistance to low-income Native Americans.

The Cherokee Nation's Micro Enterprise Adult/Youth Opportunity Loan Funds have more than $1 million available for loans, said Lahoma Davidson, portfolio manager.

To qualify for assistance, participants do not have to be members of the Cherokee Nation. Applicants must be a citizen of a federally recognized Native American tribe, live within the 14-county jurisdictional area of the Cherokee Nation and meet low-income guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Funding for the program was provided by HUD and matched by the Cherokee Nation, Davidson said.

"The Micro Enterprise Adult/Youth Opportunity Loan Funds were created to assist low-income Native Americans with the funding and assistance to start, expand or stabilize a small business," said Davidson.

The program is not just for adults - participants can be as young as 13. Zach Gann, a senior at Sequoyah Schools, received a loan to expand his cattle business.

"The loan helped me to extend my business, which produces more money for me to prepare for my college education and future," said Gann. "This has been a great opportunity for me because it has allowed me to look ahead into my future as an adult. It has been a real learning experience."

His mother, Jodie Gann, said the program has been beneficial.

"As a young man, he is now the owner of several head of livestock," she said.

"Zach is learning the responsibilities of caring for the animals and the financial responsibilities associated with obtaining a loan. He is a very motivated young man and determined to make a great future for himself."

Loans are available through the tribe's Small Business Assistance Center.

"For applicants who make it through our business planning process, we have a fairly high approval rate for loans," Davidson said. …

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