HUBZone Military project commences in Palm Springs, California: goal to revitalize Indian reservations across US, eligibility for government contracts

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Palm Springs Indian Reservation welcomes new business owners: former military and other entrepeneurs; project will also be available to other reservations within USA.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of Palm Springs, California have chosen to sponsor a most unique project for the past year. It is known as “The Agua Caliente HUBZone Business Project”, part of the “HUBZone and Military Business Project, revitalizing reservations for transitioning officers and entrepreneurs”(SM).The premise of the project is two-fold: Military Officers upon leaving service may start new careers in managing their own consultancies. They may choose to work in the government once again, and would be able to qualify for contracts awarded to those who live and work on a HUBZone. This project is also open to small and start-up entrepreneurs. Agua Caliente will be one of several within the US starting in 2004.

Because the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is located in downtown Palm Springs, it is not easily known that most of the City of Palm Springs is The Agua Caliente Indian Reservation. The Agua Caliente Tribal members have allotted tribal land, these areas are recognized by statute as a “HUBZone”

What is a HUBZone? “HUBZone” is a shortened name for Historically Underutilized business zone. The HUBZone program came into being in 1999, as a joint effort between the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration. Both federal agencies wanted to see work brought to what is thought upon as economically underdeveloped areas. The effort also included all Indian Reservations, which the Agua Caliente is one. In their location in Palm Springs, California, certain areas within the downtown area (five minutes from the airport) are a designated HUBZone.

In a study done within the United States Army (at Ft Belvoir, VA), Military officers who retire at younger ages, from 47 to 55, often seek new careers, many in federal contracting. These same Military Officers are interested in starting new careers that sell products and services to the Department of Defense and Civilian “service based” agencies. They are aware of government bureaucracy, and the needs of federal agencies. Rather than simply go to work for a larger contractor, many have expressed starting their own business entities, seeking out the DOD and other government agencies such as Veterans Affairs Center Veterans Enterprise (CVE) for pertinent data on how to get started.

Along with lifestyle, when starting out as a newly-minted ‘entrepreneur', many officers seek an affiliation with the SBA to start their business entities. They are attracted to HUBZones, and the special criteria their businesses will be entitled to while working and living on a HUBZone.

“Turn-key” businesses may be affiliated with the Agua Caliente or other tribal entities (35% of all employees must reside within the HUBZone, over 51% must work on the HUBZone site).

Types of Business: Commercial entities that may be attracted to locating within the HUBZone include Government consulting, Federal contracting, light industrial and manufacturing, in the appropriate area of Palm Springs on the Agua Caliente Reservation, and would be an option for other reservations in the Coachella Valley region, which include the Torres Martinez, Morongo Band of Indians, Ramona, Augustine and Cabazon Indian Tribes.

"It has been the observation of those following the project that the type of business owner attracted to the Palm Springs lifestyle are those served in our Nation’s Military as career officersThe officers are seeking similar careers in private enterprise, using the skills that are well-honed from many active years serving our country." Abbe Buck, President of HighViz Consulting Group, a small, woman-owned business, whose company's cornerstone is to assist fellow small businesses and start ups (with a specialized practice for native american tribal entitieds) explained. "Plus, while in semi-retirement, former officers would like to enjoy themselves with a variety of activities including golf on the world’s greatest courses." (Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley have 123 golf courses).

Business Resources are available: Buck says that former military officers, if locating to the Palm Springs region, would be living and working near Twenty Nine Palms USMC Center, an hour away, and SPAWAR in San Diego, a little over an hour. "These officers will be able to obtain business start up and 7(a) loans through the Canyon National Bank for up to 2 Million dollars.. The new business owners would also have full (business) set up support through the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, and the Palm Springs Economic Development Corporation, to find those who would be able to do secretarial and administration work, who are well-skilled in information technology, manufacturing and other businesses." Buck also said that most people already work and live in the Coachella Valley (in the Inland Empire section of California, which also includes several other Indian Reservations, also regarded as HUBZones) Many residents of Palm Springs and the surrounding cities who have served our Military and now enjoy a comfortable existence living and working in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.

The Agua Caliente have a steep history in Palm Springs and in the Coachella Valley area. Having been land owners for over 400 hundred years, they are also business owners that have single handedly revived the City of Palm Springs with the Agua Caliente and Spa Casinos. Richard Milanovich, Agua Caliente Tribal Chairman, is continually on the lookout for opportunities that will benefit those of the Agua Caliente who reside on the reservation in Palm Springs, and for the City of Palm Springs. One way, is to allow former officers and like entrepreneurs to set up shop and leasing their office space from an Agua Caliente resident. They may also locate in the future Indian Oasis Corporate Center

To learn more about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, visit

For more about “The Agua Caliente HUBZone Business Project”, and to tour Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley please contact HighViz Consulting Group at 1-800-380-2825 or e-mail A power point presentation for full review of the project as it pertains to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is available by request.

If you are affilaited with a Native American Tribe of institution, and are interested in finding our more about the "HUBZone Military Project, Revitalizing Resevations"(SM), please contact Rebecca Bird at 1-800-382-2240, or e-mail, For complete information regarding business start-ups and HUBZones, please log on to


Mary Alice Gagnon

HighViz Consulting Group



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