Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Drive Small Business Growth With Financial Support

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) invest in the success of their Native entrepreneurs. The Tribes’ Economic Development Office recently awarded eight grants to Tribal member business owners through its Indian Business Assistance Project. The small grants range from $2,000 to $7,000 each, but deliver vital resources to CSKT member-owned businesses. Over the past eight years, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have awarded 56 grants to Tribal members who own businesses on the on the Flathead Reservation.

The grants require a minimum dollar-to-dollar match from the business owner that can be in the form of cash, loan funds or in-kind. In-kind match can include inventory, supplies, equipment, tools or vehicles that are used for the business.

CSKT member-owned businesses that received an injection of financial support include:

  • Nicholus Barber, owner of the Barber Shop in Hot Springs
  • Jason Heavy Runner, Indian Instruments
  • Brad Pluff, new owner of Flathead Vending, LLC
  • Louis Caye, Jr., Caye Wildfire Services, LLC
  • Crystal Matt, Ombre Mountain Designs, LLC
  • Justin Dumontier, the Kapi Shop in St. Ignatius
  • Shaunda Albert, Willow Canyon Professional Counselling Services
  • Joe Muniz, A.J. Rentals, LLC

Grants through the Indian Business Assistance Project are available to qualifying applicants and can be used for activities such as the purchase of new equipment or inventory, or development of a new product line. Applications for the next round of funding are due November 4. The Economic Development Office even offers free training to help individuals write their business plans, hosting Business Basics/Indianpreneurship classes for six weeks.

In other news on the Flathead Reservation, the Tribes will host a CSKT Enterprises Career Fair this Thursday, August 15, and Friday, August 16, at KwaTaqNuk Resort and Casino. CSKT enterprises including S&K Technologies, S&K Electronics, S&K Gaming, Energy Keepers, Inc., Mission Valley Power and Eagle Bank will partake in the event.

S&K Technologies Chief Executive Officer Chad Cottet said S&K Technologies recently purchased International Towers, Inc., a company that builds cell towers and has a contract with T-Mobile to build cell towers across the country.

“The T-Mobile contract will provide numerous employment opportunities for people who want to travel,” Cottet said. “We will be looking for all skill levels and train them to move up the ladder.”