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The National Congress of American Indians is offering a $140,000 grant program aimed at shoring up Native-owned small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Washington, D.C.-based NCAI is seeking applications for 28 business stabilization grants worth $5,000 apiece. Successful applicants must be able to demonstrate how their businesses have been curtailed because of the pandemic. 

The funding can be used for a range of activities to address urgent needs in the business, such as paying existing small business loans, keeping people employed and paying vendors. 

As well, NCAI said the funding can be used to improve the resilience of the business, such as purchasing equipment or software that will allow the owners to transition their companies to take advantage of e-commerce channels, which have become increasingly important given various state-level restrictions on in-person contact to address the spread of COVID-19. 

“Native-owned small businesses serve as the lifeblood of many tribal communities across the country, providing critical jobs and income to tribal citizens and their families while at the same time enriching the quality of community life by providing goods and services to local residents and the public at-large,” according to the NCAI request for applications for the grant. 

The organization credited financial support from Google.org for making the grants possible. 

NCAI will accept applications on a rolling basis until all funds are exhausted. 

Applicants must offer proof of tribal enrollment, business financial information and detail how the funding will be used to stabilize or strengthen the operations. 

More information on the Native American small business grant program is available on the NCAI website.

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