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American Indian and Alaska Natives as Entrepreneurs

Tue Mar 15 2011
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This week, statisticians from the U.S. Census Bureau will be attending the 25th annual Reservation Economic Summit (RES 2011). This conference, headed by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, provides opportunities for American Indian and indigenous entrepreneurs and tribal leaders to network, receive business training and to connect to other businesses.

Here at the Census Bureau, we measure the economic growth and impact of individually owned American Indian and Alaska Native businesses. These data help organizations like the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development see whether these entrepreneurs are being provided the opportunities to start businesses and grow.

At RES 2011 and today in an audio news conference, the Census Bureau will release the latest information on businesses with American Indian and Alaska Native owners, from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO).

The survey shows that American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses generated $34.4 billion in receipts in 2007, a 28 percent increase from 2002. AIAN Map

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What’s exciting about these data are they are only source of population-wide, regularly collected information on businesses owned privately by individual American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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These data do not show the full spectrum of economic activity for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Data collected in the 2007 SBO do not include data for tribally owned businesses or businesses owned by Alaskan Native Regional or Village Corporations and their subsidiaries, which are considered to be government rather than individually owned entities.

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According to the survey, there were 236,967 individually American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses in 2007, an increase of 18 percent from 2002. These businesses employed 184,416 people, a decrease of 4 percent from 2002. Their payrolls totaled $5.9 billion, an increase of 15 percent.

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Construction, retail trade and wholesale trade accounted for 53 percent of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned business receipts.

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The SBO also provides us with a detailed look at American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses by smaller geographic areas, including cities, counties and metro areas.

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The Census Bureau website offers more information onAmerican Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses in your area.

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