Tribal Business Owners Learn Techniques For Federal Contracts


Tribal leaders and native American business owners from three states met in the Green Bay area today (1/29). They were there to learn about federal business opportunities that are available through the Small Business Administration.

The federal government has a goal of awarding at least 23 percent of its contracts to small businesses. Wisconsin’s SBA director says the administration is just shy of that goal. That’s why Eric Ness says events like the one in Green Bay are important. They target “HUB” zones, short for Historically Underutilized Businesses. “Door County is a HUB zone. But all tribal land is HUB zone in the state. There are areas in downtown Green Bay that are HUB zones also. So we’re trying to work in those regions to create business or get the businesses that are already there to get more federal procurement.”

Wisconsin hosts one of just six PTAC’s: that’s short for Procurement Technical Assistance Centers. Gwen Carr heads one, based on the Oneida reservation.

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Even though tribes are considered sovereign nations, Carr says it’s important for business owners to realize federal opportunities. “Money is money. Let me put it this way: When the government buys over $700 billion in goods and services, people go where the money is. Businesses follow the money. We help tribes and tribal owned businesses – native-American owned businesses – follow the money. We are the ones who leave the breadcrumbs in the labyrinth of working with the federal government and help other people become successful.”

The Green Bay event was targeted at native Americans, but the SBA also has an “alphabet soup” of programs open to women-owned businesses, those started by veterans, and many other categories.