Indianz.Com > News > Leader of Small Business Administration heads to Indian Country
Mark Madrid, Isabella Guzman and JacksonBrossy
From left: Mark Madrid, Associate Administrator of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development; Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and Jackson S. Brossy, Assistant Administrator, Office of Native American Affairs, take part in the signign of the Small Business Administration’s tribal consultation policy in January 2022. Photo: SBA
Leader of Small Business Administration heads to Indian Country
Monday, February 21, 2022

The Navajo Nation is hosting the leader of the Small Business Administration for her first visit to the largest reservation in the United States.

Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman will meet with Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and other tribal officials on Tuesday. The visit is taking place in Window Rock, Arizona, which serves as the tribe’s capital.

According to the SBA, Guzman is slated to discuss how the American Rescue Plan Act, as well as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, can benefit Indian Country. The two laws, which were enacted by Congress as part of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, include more than $33 billion in investments for tribes and their communities.

Indianz.Com Video: White House Tribal Nations Summit Policy Panel: Economic and Workforce Development – November 16, 2021

“Native-owned small businesses are vital to our shared economic future, and the SBA is committed to engaging and supporting them,” Guzman said in December as her agency awarded another round of grants to organizations that support Native entrepreneurs.

More recently, Guzman announced the release of the SBA’s tribal consultation policy. The 10-page document outlines how the agency will work with tribal nations, Alaska Native corporations and Native Hawaiian organizations.

“The SBA is committed to establishing strong nation-to-nation relationships with every tribe that seeks to engage with the federal government,” Guzman said on January 28. “We’re focused on making tribal consultation an important component of our broader tribal outreach and engagement while creating opportunities for meaningful dialogue.”

The SBA includes an Office of Native American Affairs at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Jackson Brossy, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, came on board as the Assistant Administrator for the Native program in December.

“Supporting Native-owned small businesses is vital to our shared economic future,” Brossy said on the release of the SBA’s tribal consultation policy. “And that begins with addressing the systemic inequities that continue to plague Indigenous peoples.”

Last March, Guzman was confirmed as the 27th administrator of the SBA. Since coming on board, the agency has offered about $700 million in support to Native businesses and Native entrepreneurs, according to progress report published on January 20, on the anniversary of Biden’s inauguration as president.

Additionally, the SBA recently relaunched the Council on Underserved Communities to advise the SBA on ways to help socially, economically and geographically disadvantaged small business owners. The committee includes Veronica Maturino, the CEO of Our Native American Business Network; and Chris James, the president and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.

The agency is primarily known for its work in the federal contracting arena. The 8(a) program has been designed to help tribal- and Native-owned businesses secure contracts with the U.S. government.

“SBA is committed and positioned to really support Native-owned businesses,” Guzman said during a policy panel on workforce and economic development at the White House Tribal Nations Summit last November. “Under the president’s vision of trying to ensure that our ecosystems are built up in an equitable manner, the SBA is trying to design programs — at the onset — with all of our entrepreneurs in mind.”

indianz · Policy Panel: Economic and Workforce Development
Indianz.Com Audio: White House Tribal Nations Summit Policy Panel: Economic and Workforce Development – November 16, 2021