Welcome to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes' CSKT Economics website. The following is information that will hopefully provide some 

HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND OTHERS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses and individuals are suffering on the Reservation. The following information was gathered by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Economic Development Office (CSKT EDO) to assist these businesses and individuals.

*   New Federal Funds for Agricultural Producers: The U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) has a new Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for "producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent or greater price decline due to COVID-19 and face signficant marketing costs as a result of lower demand, surplus production, and disruptions to shipping patterns," etc. Apply at www.farmers.gov/cfap . FSA is accepting applications through August 28, 2020. Work with the local office in Ronan which is the drop off location for applications. Their telephone number is 676-2811.

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 *    State Grants -- New announcement from Governor Bullock's Office of Economic Development:

"Grants are still available for small businesses and non-profits that have been impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. These grants are funded by the Federal CARES Act to stabilize businesses, facilitate adaptation to safe re-opening, and accelerate innovation as our economy recovers. We ... encourage your organization to apply for these grants to ease the burden of this crisis. We're in this together, and we stand ready to help your business move forward with confidence." ALL STATE GRANT APPLICATIONS ARE AT https://commerce.mt.gov/Coronavirus-Relief 

BUSINESS RECOVERY PROGRAMS

Montana Business Adaptation Program
The Montana Business Adaptation Program will provide reimbursement for COVID-19 expenses related to keeping staff and customers safe – from the purchase of personal protective equipment to resources needed for staff to work remotely. Eligible small business must be Montana-based, employ 50 or less, have incurred eligible adaptation expenses since
March 1 due to COVID-19, and be in good standing with the Secretary of State or local tribal government. Nonprofit entities are eligible. Eligible expenses include costs related to communication, remote work equipment, cleaning supplies, tools to enhance social distancing and sanitation, travel and hotel costs related to quarantining workers. Total funding available is $20 million, the maximum reimbursement amount per business is $5,000.

Montana Business Stabilization Program
The Montana Business Stabilization Grant program will provide working capital for small businesses to support payroll, rent, accounts payable, debt service and expenses related to shifts in operations in order to retain existing businesses, retain current employees or retain business viability for future re-employment. Eligible small business must be Montana-based, employ 50 or less, have sustained a loss of revenue since Feb. 15 due to COVID 19, and be in good standing with the Secretary of State or local tribal government. Nonprofit entities are not eligible. Total funding available is $75 million, the maximum award amount per business is $10,000. 

  • Please note:  For the Montana Business Stabilization grant, only 1 application per individual or business will be considered: It was not made clear in the application, but if an individual has two businesses, they can only apply for one business.
  • Tribal Identification: Applicants need to upload a tribal ID or some documentation verifying they are eligible for the Native American business portion of funding. Tribal enterprises are eligible.
  • 2019 Gross Revenue Must Be ≥ Grant Request: The state has been getting applications where the revenue for 2019 may be $1,000 but the request is for $9,000.  If eligible, that business would only be awarded $1,000.
  • Business Registration: If businesses are not registered with the Secretary of State’s Office, a tribal business license, tribal business registration, TERO or Indian Preference paperwork helps to verify the business.
  • Taxes: Many businesses are sole proprietorships that claim their business income/loss on their personal taxes on their Schedule C.  Please upload the complete tax record. This is used to verify that the business is associated with the individual.
  • Eligible Expenses: Working capital and operating costs are eligible expenses including loan payments, inventory, business rent, utilities, insurance, and wages.  Taxes are not eligible.  If a businesses is home-based, only a portion of the total rent/mortgage should be expensed for the business.  Expansions and remodeling are not eligible (unless the remodel is to enact social distancing protocols or install safety equipment).

Social Services Nonprofit Grants
Grants of up to $10,000 per applicant are available for nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency to retain existing programs and services, employees, or organizational viability for provision of future services and operations. Eligible applicants are registered, Montana-based social service nonprofits that were operating prior to February 15, 2020. This includes senior services, housing services, transportation, public safety, energy assistance, economic development, job training, recreational services and tourism-related activities. Current funding available is $10 million. 
Deadline to apply is Friday, June 12 at 5 p.m.

BUSINESS RESPONSE PROGRAMS

Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant
The Montana Meat Processing Infrastructure Grant is available to aid small and medium-sized meat processors responding to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions by supporting local meat processing infrastructure and capacity in Montana. Due to interruptions in national supply chains, meat processing capacity throughout the US has been significantly impacted. Supporting in-state meat processing infrastructure and capacity will provide alternative market channels for Montana’s cattle, hog and poultry producers. Examples of eligible expenses include, but are not limited to, equipment and infrastructure that increases processing and/or storage capacity, costs associated with becoming State or Federally inspected, and other business adaptation and diversification activities. Total funding available is $2,000,000, with a maximum award of $150,000. The application deadline is July 2, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Montana Food and Agriculture Adaptability Program
Grants are available to food and agriculture businesses to help increase community resilience amid the COVID 19 pandemic and other economic disruptions. Grants are intended to create additional economic activity and bolster food security. Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to, those focused on accessing new markets, projects which strengthen and expand local food systems, and other business adaptations that decrease food and agricultural waste. The need for such innovations must be driven by the COVID 19 pandemic. Total funding available is $500,000, with a maximum application amount of $10,000. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Montana Innovation Grant Program
The Montana Innovation Grant program is intended to help companies scale up, improve capabilities, or drive expanded distribution of products or services developed in response to COVID-19. Projects should demonstrate significant impact in improving public health, safety, and economic impact. Eligible companies include non-profit and for-profit businesses of less than 150 employees that have created an innovative product or service intended to directly confront the COVID-19 emergency. Applicants must have primary operations based in Montana, be in good standing with the Montana Secretary of State and must not be debarred from receiving federal or state funds. Total funding available is $5 million with a maximum award amount of $25,000.
An example of a direct COVID-related innovation is a company pivoting to create PPE, sanitization products, or developing something entirely new that can assist in the COVID response.  

Emergency Housing Assistance Program will provide rent, security deposit, mortgage payment, and/or hazard insurance assistance as-needed for Montanans who have lost a job or substantial income loss as a result of COVID-19. Initial payments may include up to three months assistance where the eligible household can demonstrate arrears for April and May, with continuable inability to make their June payment. Montana Housing will pay the difference between 30 percent of the household’s current gross monthly income and their eligible housing assistance costs, up to $2,000 a month. Household income limits range from $75,000-$125,000 based on family size. Montanans receiving other forms of housing assistance are not eligible. Total funding available is $50 million. 

Stay Connected Grants ranging from $500-$2,000 per applicant are available to reduce social isolation among Montana’s seniors. Eligible applicants include area agencies on aging, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and tribal elder services. Grant funds can be used to fund technologies and other efforts to encourage physically distant forms of social interaction for elderly Montanans during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Current funding available is $400,000.

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 ·       Federal Grants and Loans – The Small Business Administration (SBA) has resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications from approved lenders on behalf of eligible borrowers UNTIL JUNE 30. This loan could have the potential to be similar to a grant whereby repayment could be forgiven “if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities,” according to the Paycheck Protection Program screen on the SBA web page at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program-ppp. Contact your local bank to see if they can assist with one of these loans. If any businesses still want to apply, funding currently remains available.

According to a June 15, 2020 press release from the SBA, "To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 today.... 

·         The SBA is offering low interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19 in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories.

·         These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan.  The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses.  The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

·         To keep payments affordable for small businesses, SBA offers loans with long repayment terms, up to a maximum of 30 years.  Plus, the first payment is deferred for one year.

 ·         In addition, small businesses and non-profits may request, as part of their loan application, an EIDL Advance of up to $10,000.  The EIDL Advance is designed to provide emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue.  This advance will not have to be repaid, and small businesses may receive an advance even if they are not approved for a loan."

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·      Free Webinars and Online Training Opportunities – Free webinars are available on the SBA YouTube page at www.youtube.com/sba, as well as at https://sbdc.mt.gov/classroom where one can find great webinars for disaster planning and dealing with the COVID-19 situation. 

The CSKT Economic Development Office is also providing free online training and hosting online meetings with Tribal business owners. Notices will be sent via e-mail, and posted on the CSKT Workforce Enhancement Facebook page, this CSKT Economics website at www.cskteconomics.org, and in the Char-Koosta News. Stay tuned for these notices. BE SURE TO E-MAIL This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so she can send you an e-mail invitation.

 ·    Other Resources for Businesses and Employees – The Montana Department of Labor is posting frequently asked questions and resources for businesses and employees at its webpage dedicated to providing COVID-19-related information at http://dli.mt.gov/employer-covid-19.

New information for business owners is sent to the CSKT’s EDO on a regular basis. If a Tribal member owned business is interested in this information, provide an e-mail address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Mrs. Camel will forward this information. She can also be reached at 675-2700, extension 1256.

Businesses may also contact Velda Shelby, the new Economic Development Director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., extension 1163; or Dacia Whitworth, the EDO/Vibrant Tribal Economies Assistant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., extension 1091. EDO staff are working remotely, but are checking office messages daily during the work week.

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Tribal economic development focuses on four main areas: 

  • Jobs - Workforce Enhancement
  • Corporate Development
  • Small Business/Entrepreneur Support
  • Planning and Development

This website provides resources for job seekers who can use the "Workforce Enhancement" link at the top of this page to make an appointment with our Workforce Enhancement Coordinator. The Coordinator provides assistance with training, resumes, job applications, career blueprints and other resources. $25 stipends are available to tribal members who complete an assessment survey and Career Blueprint.

Links to a list of CSKT job openings and a Workforce Training Directory are located in the upper right column of this page.

Information about CSKT's corporations is available by clicking on the "Tribal Corporations" link at the top of this page.

Small business and entrepreneur support is provided through grants, loans, free training, quarterly networking meetings, and other technical assistance. To review our Business Resource Directory or check our list of Native American owned businesses, click on the links in the upper right column of this page. Additional information is available by clicking on "Small Business-Entrepreneur Support" at the top of this webpage.

Planning and development includes work with other agencies to address economic development and land use issues of mutual concern, as well as planning for development and management of existing and newly acquired Tribal properties. The Hot Springs Wellness Center and culturally-appropriate tourism development are two of CSKT's planning projects.  

The Tribal Economic Development Office (EDO) is charged with planning and implementing some of these resource development projects, with Tribal Council and interdisciplinary staff concurrence, to lead the Tribes toward a self-sufficient economy within the parameters of sound environmental stewardship.  The Annual Work Plan for the EDO includes the following goals:

  1. Facilitate Reporting and Communications between Tribally-Owned Corporations/Enterprises and the Tribal Council/Shareholder 
  2. Complete Due Diligence, as directed, on New Business Proposals Submitted to CSKT by Outside Business Interests
  3. Assist Tribal Member Entrepreneurs and Prospective Entrepreneurs with Access to Capital, Training, and Other Business Development Needs
  4. Support Revenue-Producing Tribal Programs, including Review of Land Acquisition Proposals with Revenue-Producing Potential
  5. Research and Plan for the Best Use of Tribal Assets
  6. Coordinate with Other Governmental Entities Regarding Economic Development, Planning and Workforce Development