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Cherokee Nation receives $500K grant to create small business loans

Pictured L-R: Cherokee Nation Commerce Services Small Business Assistance Center Director Stephen Highers, Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, U.S. Department of Agriculture State Director of Rural Development Kenneth Corn

Tuesday, January 30, 2024 - The Cherokee Nation was recently awarded a $500,000 Rural Business Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create small business loans that support Cherokee citizen-owned businesses and create community-based jobs.

Deputy Chief Bryan Warner accepted the donation during the Oklahoma Tribal Opportunity Partnership Summit in Chickasha.

“I measure our success as a tribe by looking at our individuals and the opportunities they have. This opportunity allows us to support small, Cherokee-owned businesses and jobs for Cherokee families,” said Deputy Chief Warner. “We can pave the way for those who want to be an entrepreneur, who want to show their kids a new way to live and who want to break generational trauma. Anytime we are given the opportunity to help strengthen our communities, we must take it.”

The summit was held at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, providing the USDA a chance to share grant and program opportunities with tribes across Oklahoma.

“President Biden and I believe that we should make investments in rural communities and there’s no greater opportunity to do that than through tribal partnerships,” said Kenneth Corn, USDA State Director of Rural Development. “Tribal governments are on the ground, they know their people, they know what is needed in all of their communities and they’re in a unique position to serve where sometimes the federal government cannot. To have the Cherokee Nation as a partner gives us a better opportunity to serve people, which is what our goal is at the end of the day.”

Since 2022 the Cherokee Nation has been awarded $1.6 million from USDA Rural Development for programs such as the Women, Infants and Children program as well as the Farm and Food Workers Relief program.

For more information on Cherokee Nation small business loan eligibility, contact Commerce Services at or (918)-453-5536.

KXMX Staff Writer

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