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MBDA Native American Publications

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.

May 2021

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Tribal Colleges and Universities White PaperTribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) offer higher educational opportunities for American Indian students and are unique in that they combine cultural relevance with their degree outcomes. TCUs offer associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, as well as vocational programs and certificates.

This paper considers the role of TCUs and in particular the role of TCU curriculum in business development and entrepreneurship in tribal areas. We utilize existing data on TCU curriculum and tribal area characteristics and consider whether and to what extent entrepreneurship on reservations varies according to TCU curriculum in entrepreneurship courses and hands-on learning. We find TCUs with courses in business and entrepreneurship are associated with higher levels of self-employment, median earnings, and education on their respective reservations compared with other