FORTUNE Names SBC As Entrepreneurial LeaderMay 15th, 2006 | By tcj | Category: 17-4: Reforming Our Schools, Native Style, Tribal College News
FORTUNE Small Business magazine has selected Sitting Bull College (SBC, Fort Yates, ND) as one of the top 10 colleges nationwide for entrepreneurs. The March 2, 2006, issue of the online magazine story said, “Where to go to get a leg up when starting a business? These ten schools are leading the way in programs for budding entrepreneurs.” It put SBC on a list that also included Harvard University, Howard University, University of Colorado, University of Arizona, and five other major universities.
“One of the first tribal colleges in the U.S. when it was founded in 1973, Sitting Bull has launched a pioneering program to teach entrepreneurship to Native Americans. A key goal: to create jobs on the Standing Rock Reservation (pop. 12,000), where unemployment is at 76 percent. Educators seek to emulate the economically and culturally independent Amish,” the article said.
On reservations with such high unemployment rates, entrepreneurial development is especially important. A new center for entrepreneurial studies is part of SBC’s $40 million construction plans. In September 2005, the college received a federal grant of $300,000 to construct the center, which will house classrooms, administrative offices, and local businesses.
In addition, the new entrepreneurial center will have a tribal business information center that will serve as a “business incubator,” assisting tribal members in business set-up, marketing, and financing. U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development awarded this grant with funds appropriated by the U.S. Congress.
In previous years, the tribal college started two companies that now employ students and alumni of the college — Sitting Bull College Construction Company and a computer installation and service company.
In 2000, Sitting Bull College established an honorary campaign committee of 39 educators, business entrepreneurs, attorneys, and other professionals. Over $12 million of the $40 million needed for the new campus has been raised so far.