Mille Lacs Band gets over $3 million in federal funding for tribal business incubators

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe will receive a $3.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to fund the construction of tribal business incubators that will support startups and growing businesses.

Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures, the business arm of the Mille Lacs Band, will use the grant to establish two business incubators as part of the Tribal Economy Business Incubator.

Tribal leaders hope the project will help boost the local economy by giving growing business resources they wouldn’t have otherwise.

One incubator project will be at 500 West Main St. in Onamia and will be dedicated to professional services and small-scale production; the second will be at 109 Weber Ave. in Hinckley, near the old Mission Creek theme park, to house and support retail businesses.

The grant is expected to create 75 jobs and generate $2 million in private investment for the Mille Lacs Band, according to a press release.

The funding was part of the federal American Rescue Plan, passed last year. The program allocated $100 million to help tribal governments and Indigenous communities complete economic development projects to recover from the pandemic.

The Mille Lacs Band owns the Grand Casino Hinckley and Grand Casino Mille Lacs, but has also expanded into areas including real estate and hospitality (owning a pair of hotels in downtown St. Paul), and marketing (it owns Foxtrot Marketing Group).

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