Akiptan is a Native American Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides loans and technical assistance to those in Indian Agriculture. Akiptan offers a whole suite of services that include financing youth, start ups, operating costs and ownership. Our CDFI takes it a step further and works with the client to assist with technical support as well as provide financial literacy training to help create a knowledgeable borrower.
HISTORY OF AKIPTAN
Akiptan, Inc is a certified Native CDFI located in Eagle Butte, SD on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. Akiptan was founded from the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). IAC is a decades-old organization whose mission is to connect Native ag producers with the resources that they need to succeed. Akiptan is founded on the principles of lender security AND producer prosperity, patient capital instead of extractive capital, innovative lending, and relationship based lending. This is reflected in our name, Akiptan, which is Lakota for doing something together or in a joint effort as a partnership.
Akiptan stands firmly behind the belief that patient capital is the way to do financing. With our long loan term loans and up to five years interest only period, we are leaving more profits in our borrowers’ pockets. In turn, this allows for the producers to reinvest back into their operation to grow their balance sheets and to get their feet firmly planted in the ground, before having to make larger, blended payments. We also focus a large amount of resources on building solid relationships with our borrowers, the relationship starts to form during our intake/technical assistance process, but also in the post closing phase.
Our intake/technical assistance process is where we help our producers put pen to paper with their goals and get them the financial literacy resources and training they need to succeed. Because we have great relationships with our borrowers, we feel comfortable taking on that long term commitment with them through our financing. We check in at least quarterly with our clients on an informal basis. These calls have ranged from informing them about pandemic relief programs, asking them how budgeting is going, asking them operational questions and generally just - “What do you need from us to succeed?” Their success is our success so we go the extra mile to make sure that they are supported from all angles. At Akiptan we have also started taking an integrated capital approach, meaning we’ve been pairing loans with grants. This also helps to build our producers' balance sheets and get them the needed livestock, equipment, or infrastructure that they need to succeed. When a producer is supported financially with equity and lending and supported mentally with financial resources and a lender that is on their side, the only possible outcome is success.