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Keys to Unlocking Business Development in Indian Country

November 2021

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Tribal Colleges and Universities White PaperThis report examines the key determinants of business development on tribal reservations. A defining feature of tribal reservations is economic geography as most tribal reservations are located in rural or remote areas. Not surprisingly, many economic and socioeconomic characteristics of tribal reservations mirror that of the rural United States. In terms of business development and overcoming the economic disadvantages associated with remoteness, the empirical results point to the importance of tribal areas having a skilled workforce, internet connectivity, a sound digital infrastructure, and access to a sufficiently large market and labor market pool. Our field research also revealed a general consensus on the importance of self governance in overcoming the unique regulatory issues surrounding tribal trust land and business development.