Commerce Awards Small Business Grants to 26 Native-Owned Businesses in Montana

406 Native Roots in Billings HELENA, Mont. – The Montana Department of Commerce announced today that $320,000 of grant funding has been allocated to support 26 start-up or expanding Native American businesses in Montana. The funding is through Commerce’s Indian Equity Fund (IEF) Small Business Grant Program.

“For Montana’s economy to remain resilient and strong, it is vital that tribal businesses continue to expand and grow in numbers,” said Paul Green, Director of the Montana Department of Commerce. “That’s why Commerce will continue to support Montana’s small businesses through different programs that will help reinforce our state’s economy into the future.”

IEF funding can be used for a variety of activities, such as the purchase of new equipment or the development of a new product line. Awards for individual businesses can be up to $14,000 with a minimum dollar-to-dollar cash or in-kind match.

The following businesses will receive IEF grants:

Chippewa Cree
Confederated Salish and Kootenai
Fort Belknap
Fort Peck
Little Shell
Northern Cheyenne
In 2022, Eagles Wings, LLC, a management consulting firm in Polson, received $14,000 of IEF grant funding to expand its business space and hire an additional employee during the busy season.

“Confidence in what I had to offer as a business owner was greatly elevated by the acknowledgment and award the Montana Indian Equity Fund provided. It’s so difficult for a new and small business to qualify for financial support, and this type of leverage is so beneficial,” said Charmel Gillin, owner of Eagles Wings, LLC. “Eagles Wings has been able to gain market share and visibility in our small and rural community on the Flathead reservation. I cannot thank IEF enough for how much they do for the Native American business community.”

Eligible applicants for IEF grant funding include enrolled members of the eight federally recognized tribes in Montana. Each year, a total of $320,000 of IEF program funding is available to support Native American businesses in Montana.

The IEF is one of four financial assistance programs under Commerce’s Office of Indian Country Economic Development. Other funding opportunities include the Native American Business Advisors, Tribal Tourism and Native American Collateral Support grant programs.

For more information about the IEF grant program, visit

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