WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship has approved the Native American Entrepreneurial Opportunity Act (S. 1156). The legislation, sponsored by Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), would create a permanent Associate Administrator at the Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA) within the Small Business Administration (SBA). Currently, the ONAA is established only administratively, however, S. 1156 would establish the ONAA by law and require that it be led by an Associate Administrator with a direct report to the SBA Administrator.
The Native American Entrepreneurial Opportunity Act was one of 11 bills that was packaged and approved by an 18-1 vote at the Committee. Other bills in the package included the Community Advantage Loan Program and Small Business Lending Company provisions. Additional co-sponsors of S. 1156 are Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK).
“Making this position permanent will mean the unique economic and entrepreneurial needs of our community – and government-to-government consultation – will always be a priority at SBA,” said Chris James, CEO of The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. “[It would] ensure that we always have at seat at the table in an agency that plays a critical role in boosting our economy.”