AKWESASNE (WWTI) — A new program will aim to support small businesses in Akwesasne.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Office of Economic Development launched its new Small Business Assistance Program on May 10. This will provide financial and technical assistance to local businesses that have not previously received COVID-19 support grants.

According to the OED, to be eligible, businesses must have been in operation for at least one year prior to May 2021.

The Tribe will also accept applications from specific business categories, including gas stations and convenience stores; restaurants and bars; artists, craftspeople, and culture-oriented businesses, professional services and related services; retail operations and providers of goods/products; and part-time vendors, caterers, vendors, and entertainment.

Non-profit organizations are not eligible for this program.

Businesses must also be in good standing with all tribal ordinances and regulations, majority-owned by enrolled tribal members, located within the southern portion of Akwesasne and have not received support from the Small Business Relief or the Pandemic Recovery Business Support Program.

To apply, business owners must fill out an application with information about their business, provide additional documentation as needed and complete the first two steps of the program,

Applicants must also must submit their “Doing Business As” Certificate and participate in nine modules over an approximately 90-day period. These modules will be comprised of entrepreneurship and business management information.

After the first 30 days and completion of their initial modules, applicants will be eligible for a business support grant for reimbursement purposes. A second business support grant will be distributed at the completion of all modules at the end of the 90-day program.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Small Business Assistance Program will accept applications on a rolling basis. The program will operate through the end of 2022 and into 2023, or until all funding is utilized.