AKWESASNE, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Office of Economic Development announced that almost 300 tribal businesses have received help through their Pandemic Recovery Business Support Program.

According to a press release from the SMRT, the recovery funds were made available from the U.S. Treasury Department under the American Rescue Plan Act. In an effort to take advantage of the funds, the Tribe’s Office of Economic Development issued letters to tribe businesses explaining the business support program and its application process in November.

In order to be eligible, tribal businesses needed to still be in operation during the pandemic, owned by an enrolled tribal member, and physically located within the southern portion of Akwesasne. According to the SMRT, 284 tribal businesses took advantage of the opportunity and received funds through the program.

By the end of December 2021, the Tribe’s Office of Economic Development intends to provide more than $1.35 million through the PRBS to Akwesasne businesses. This includes restaurants, gas and convenience stores, artists, and cultural businesses, retail and professional services, part-time businesses and large enterprises.

A follow-up to the PRBS will be announced in January 2022, which will assist new businesses. OED Director James Lazore said that “The New Recovery” program will ensure those local businesses that have not received help previously will be eligible to obtain assistance. He also stressed the importance of offering recovery programs for local businesses.

“It is the OED’s goal to provide as much financial support as we can with the ARPA funds to help our local entrepreneurs during their economic recovery,” Lazore said. “In the New Year, our office will reach out once again, to work with new Akwesasne businesses on pivoting to a more prosperous way out of the pandemic.”

More information on the program can be found on the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe website.