The National Center is committed to helping you become a better leader, with a growing business, and a great work-life balance! Sounds ambitious, right? Every week we’re going to send you news, tips, and articles we think will help you achieve all of that and more.
The National Center has been helping entrepreneurs and big enterprise for over 44 years with everything from business plans and strategy to teaming. Continue reading and visit us at ncaied.org to find out how we can help you.
I hope this month’s newsletter finds each and every one of you healthy and prospering in your business and economic development pursuits! I would like to present you with a summary of happenings from our most recent Regional Reservation Economic Summit in Arizona (RES Arizona)!
I am pleased to report that RES Arizona was our most well attended Regional RES to date, with over 500 attendees. What does that mean? Our Regional RES’s are growing! “RES Arizona”, our third Regional RES, nearly doubled the attendance of our first Regional RES, “RES Oklahoma” – which took place less than one year ago. Networking activities began with the RES Arizona Golf Tournament sponsored by Chukchansi Inc. at the beautiful Whirlwind Golf Club. At RES Arizona we moved from two days of content, to three full days of business workshops, trainings, forums and networking opportunities. At RES Arizona we also proudly debuted our first, “Twenty Grand Business Plan Competition”, launched our first ever, “National Center Energy Forum” and held our first “Diversity Luncheon”. Our “Tribal Leaders Business Forum” was insightful, filled with a great Q & A session, was literally standing room only and was presented by the NOVA Corporation.
We are now just ten days away from presenting our third Regional Reservation Economic Summit, RES Arizona (RES Arizona). The National Center is pleased to present RES Arizona from the wonderful Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino in Chandler, Arizona. Pre-registrations have already surpassed the record attendance of our last Regional RES event, RES California. We would like to thank our presenting sponsors, the Gila River Indian Community and Chukchansi, Inc. who have helped to ensure that RES Arizona is a tremendous success for all whom attend!
Each year, our National Reservation Economic Summit (National RES) in Las Vegas generates millions of dollars worth of business opportunities for Tribal Nations, Tribal Enterprises and Native American Small Businesses. We will continue to expand upon this great foundation by adding several additional nationally focused but “Regional” RES events, like RES Arizona, throughout each year in order to further increase economic opportunities across Indian Country.
The theme of RES Arizona is “Sustaining Economic Momentum”. We hope you are able to join us at RES Arizona, to engage and strategize with all of those in attendance on ways we can further empower our communities and people by “Sustaining Economic Momentum” – both domestically and globally.
I am pleased to announce that our RES Arizona Business Trade Show is sold out! RES Arizona attendees will have access to a variety of 34 different tribes, tribal enterprises, corporations, private businesses and organizations participating in our trade show.
We are also pleased to announce at RES Arizona, our first, “National Center Energy Forum”. Our Energy Forum will provide several roundtable sessions offering valuable insights from respected tribal leaders, energy professionals and representatives from Utilities such as Arizona Public Services, Salt River Project and Edison International. The Energy Forum roundtable sessions will address a variety of topics from Tribal Utility Development to Energy Investment Strategies and new IRS rulings. Participants will be able to share their thoughts and participate in Q&A opportunities with panelists in each session.
In addition to the networking events and opportunities, RES Arizona’s general and breakout sessions will feature some of the best speakers and trainers on a variety of contemporary and emerging topics; including finance, human resources, real estate investment, empowerment zones, and much more. I urge you to not miss out on any breakout session relevant to your personal or professional interests. The National Center hopes to see you at RES Arizona and that you have an incredible experience at our third Regional RES event. I look forward to meeting you all in person!
Tribal Economic Development: No Tribes Left Behind
By Gary Davis
President & CEO, The National Council for Native American Enterprise Development (NCAIED)
Many Americans have never been to a Native American reservation. They’re often geographically isolated and underdeveloped, perpetually left off the various lists of tourism destinations. With sparse and scattered populations, tribal governments have faced many obstacles in exploring economic development, including high unemployment and infrastructural deficiencies. This creates a cycle of poverty and dependence that has continued for decades.
To break this cycle, tribes have worked long and hard to solve their shared problems, taking action when possible to bring development resources to their reservations. Every step forward has been a step toward strengthening our institutions of tribal government and creating strong partnerships with other governments and business partners. These partnerships are important to our well-being as we move forward.
On occasion, tribal lands are close enough to a commercial hub that we can operate a successful casino, hotel, or conference center, but this is too often the exception to the rule. Most tribal communities face far harsher economic circumstances – our enrolled populations are too small and isolated, making land-based stores and businesses unsustainable. We are too far from population centers, making visitors from elsewhere unlikely. And for decades, we’ve existed without the major infrastructural investments needed to solve our recurring problems, creating cycles of poverty, unemployment, and economic depression. Tribal governments have struggled with ways to address our isolated locations; E-commerce has emerged as a very viable solution to reaching beyond these geographical limitations.
The NCAIED, the largest Indian-specific business organization in the nation, works to expand economic opportunities in Indian country. Nowhere has this expansion been more notable in recent years than in the growth of E-commerce as an economic sector with the potential to bring economic opportunity to even the most remote tribal lands and reservations.
The Internet has the potential to become the great equalizer across Indian Country since it transcends geography. However, with Internet access on reservation and tribal lands at only ten percent, we still have a long way to go. In spite of these obstacles, tribal governments have begun to develop sophisticated E-commerce ordinances and regulatory oversight for these new enterprises. This governmental activity is a breakthrough for tribal governments and creates an unquestionable opportunity that all of Indian Country can benefit from.
Without aggressively exploring opportunities such as E-commerce, the poverty cycle will continues to devastate our communities at a higher rate than any other. In 2010, the child poverty rate was 40 percent across Indian Country. Family poverty remains at 28 percent, compared to10 percent in the United States. NCAIED has, for more than 40 years, worked to assist tribal communities with these social problems by working to support tribal economic development. We have assisted American Indian Tribes and their enterprises with business and economic development, taking our motto literally and “Putting Indian Country to Work.” This work improves the lives of Native Americans now and for generations to come.
As an example, many tribal governments are now engaged in exploring E-commerce via internet gaming and how it can expand their gaming footprint and overall customer demographic. Other tribal governments are exploring small-dollar, short-term online lending. These tribally-owned and operated businesses create jobs on the reservation while raising revenues for critical government programs and services. These online lending businesses are an example of tribes exercising their sovereignty and helping to build a better future for their communities.
Tribes today have become very sophisticated and understand that in order to advance and diversify their economic development pursuits, for the well being of generations to come, new approaches must be taken to generate sustainable revenue. Organizations like, the Native American Financial Services Association (NAFSA), have been created to advocate for best practices. As more tribal governments continue to find ways to overcome centuries of obstacles to economic development, it is clear that tribal engagement in exploring new global financial opportunities is critical, especially for tribal governments that have been left behind, until now. E-commerce stands to be a tremendous opportunity for tribal economic diversification and one that tribal governments can and should be immensely proud of.
The expansion of tribal economic development into various new sectors, literally, represents the NCAIED’s mission of, “Putting Indian Country To Work” – through creating jobs and economic development for our people. It also figuratively represents the NCAIED’s mission of putting visionary minds throughout Indian Country “to work” and encouraging a whole new generation of thinkers and doers who have the heart and the vision to achieve and pursue opportunity now… for the benefit of generations to come. That is what those who walked before us did, and what we must do, to ensure that no tribes will ever be left behind.
The NCAIED mission statement is to “develop and expand an American Indian private sector which employs Indian labor, increases the number of viable tribal and individual Indian businesses, and positively impacts and involves reservation communities, by establishing business relationships between Indian enterprises and private industry.” This mission statement and the work of NCAIED is most appropriately exemplified by the assistance provided to NativeVet Materiel LLC, a new Native American-owned medical supplier based in Albuquerque, NM, which has utilized two NCAIED components to place this new company in a very advantageous marketing position.
NativeVet Materiel LLC is a Native American-owned provider of products and supplies supporting facility maintenance, repair & operations, and medical needs. Timothy Chavez, Pueblo of Acoma, is the owner and CEO of this business venture. This company has formed strategic alliances with powerhouse suppliers in the facilities and medical industries, including Grainger, Aesculap, Anixter, GOJO and B. Braun Medical. It has utilized the NCAIED Reservation Economic Summit 2013 and the American Indian PTAC to develop critical business relationships in this highly competitive industry.
It was at Reservation Economic Summit 2013 that Mr. Chavez networked with Jonathan Ferguson, Small Business Specialist, US Department of Health and Human Services. After an in-depth presentation, Mr. Ferguson invited Mr. Chavez, along with four other companies nationwide, to participate in a special presentation and meeting with Indian Health Service agency directors in Washington, DC. “This opportunity with IHS opened the networking floodgates and helped me understand, at a very high level, what IHS needs from its suppliers,” Mr. Chavez stated.
On April 2, 2013, NativeVet attended the 3rd Annual Navajo Nation Business Opportunity Day in Window Rock, AZ. This event is sponsored by NCAIED American Indian PTAC based in Window Rock. Through the efforts of NACIED Program Manager George Williams and Procurement Specialists Cyndi Jarvison and Timothy Armijo, Mr. Chavez was introduced and met with the Navajo Nation Housing Authority and the Indian Health Service in Gallup, NM. “This event fostered relationship development with potential buyers. It afforded me the opportunity to introduce my new business, network with interested people, and ultimately set up follow-up meetings whereby I could explain the value and benefits in working with NativeVet,” Mr. Chavez said.
Taking the initiative, opportunistic marketing and utilizing NCAIED programs appears to be paying off for this new company. “We are days away from making our first sale,” said Mr. Chavez. “I knew going into this that business takes time to grow. The majority of the past four months has been spent educating buyers about NativeVet. I extend my appreciation to the NCAIED for providing the business environment and business services that helps Native-owned businesses grow and succeed.”
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) welcomes AT&T as its newest National Resource Council member! Pictured (L-R): AT&T Regional Vice President, Mr. Daniel Youmans and NCAIED President & CEO, Gary Davis. Thank you AT&T for your support and dedication to the mission of NCAIED and helping us Put Indian Country to Work!
For more information on the National Center’s National Resource Council - CLICK HERE!
Pictured (L-R): AT&T Regional Vice President, Mr. Daniel Youmans and NCAIED President & CEO, Gary Davis.
Welcome to the new design of the National Center Newsletter. As Indian Country’s national economic development organization, the National Center’s newsletter allows us to be proactive in keeping you up to date with national news and information that inspires, innovates, engages and drives a beneficial bottom line result for economic development across Indian Country. If you have ideas that you feel are important to include, or subjects to explore in the newsletter, please let me know by emailing: email@example.com
The National Center continues to take a proactive approach to business development for all of Indian Country; we are not focused on just one region or group in Indian Country. We are interested in elevating the greater economic good of Indian Country. With that in mind, we continue the expansion of our Regional Reservation Economic Summit (RES) events across the United States. Our next Regional RES, RES Arizona, is coming up soon and will be held October 22-24, 2013 at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino in Chandler, Arizona. No matter where your business is located, come to RES Arizona to create new opportunities and relationships important to the growth and betterment of your business.
Aside from the great array of business activities and opportunities scheduled at RES Arizona, we are excited to also include the Indian Progress in Business Awards (INPRO), our longest standing special gala event, into the agenda of RES Arizona this year. During RES Arizona, the National Center will award thousands of dollars worth of scholarships to American Indian college students pursuing business degree’s, award American Indian businesses and entrepreneurs, corporations at our INPRO Business Awards and welcome our newest class of the National Center’s “Native American 40 under 40″. Our Business Student scholarship applications and Native American 40 under 40 nomination applications are still available, but the September 2, 2013 deadline is fast approaching. For more information visit: ncaied.org
Check out the video in the center of this newsletter for more information on our, “Twenty Grand Business Plan Competition – a new way that the National Center is literally “kickstarting” new business or “expanding” existing business in Indian Country – by infusing an American Indian owned business with $20,000 in cash. No strings attached and no ROI expected! We just want one thing: for the winner of the competition to be successful and help grow the economy of Indian Country. The competition will happen at RES Arizona, so enter today!
In the weeks and months ahead, we will be rolling out new National Center business development programming and services that will allow you to engage, train, partner, team and utilize the National Center to grow and enhance your business like never before.
In closing, I am excited by the vast amount of economic opportunity that exists for our American Indian tribes and entrepreneurs, both domestically and internationally. The National Center will continue to advocate and develop every opportunity in business that allows for American Indian people to create sustainable economic development for today, and most importantly for future generations of our people. We understand that the attainment of this goal is not a solo mission. The success of our mission will not be measured by the success of one, or a few. It will require a cooperative approach, inclusive of all whom envision a self sufficient and sustainable economy that supports all tribal nations and subsequent economic opportunities made available to each American Indian entrepreneur whom endeavors to better themselves, their family and their community by defining their future, themselves. Therefore, the National Center has never been more committed to, ”Putting Indian Country to Work” by ensuring, “We Mean Business for Indian Country!”
The National Center (NCAIED) American Indian PTAC and Northrop Grumman hosted two workshops entitled “Accounting Requirements for Federal Contractors” for DC Area small businesses at the Northrop Grumman Herndon, VA office on July 31, 2013. Supporting organizations included the George Mason University Virginia PTAP, the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development Statewide PTAC, and the Maryland Procurement Technical Assistance Program.
In keeping with the busy schedules and tight budgets of today’s small business owners, morning and afternoon workshops were provided at no charge. The training began with an overview of the PTAC Program by NCAIED Procurement Specialist Jack Lassiter who explained to the audience the mission of the PTAC Program and the services provided to businesses involved in government contracting. Following was featured trainer Kevin Grimes of CFO Leasing, Inc. Mr. Grimes is a Compliance Consultant with over 10 years of accounting experience who specializes in Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) compliance and accounting system implementations and migrations.
The audience consisted of small businesses from VA, DC, and MD along with several suppliers and purchasing representatives from Northrop Grumman. Topics included Segregation of Costs, Unallowable Costs, Direct/Indirect Costs, Allocation Pools, Timekeeping Requirements, Financial Capability Audits, and the SBA Certificate of Competency (COC) Program. Due to the positive response, plans are underway for a follow up workshop in the new fiscal year.
Toni Belgarde-McClue, the owner of Montana Sweetgrass Etc. started her small business in 2009 by gathering sweetgrass with the idea that she would braid the grass as she recalled from her childhood. Tony is an enrolled tribal member and a Montana Native. She began to research how to grow sweetgrass and braid the grass that is highly prized by all Native Americans as a ceremonial, traditional and sacred plant. As she started braiding the sweetgrass her artistic abilities began to work overtime and with a week before her entrance into a local Farmers Market, Toni began to design candles “in my head” as she says. She was an immediate success at the Farmers Market, where she loves to showcase her items.
Toni’s products offer and reflect not only her knowledge and love for Montana, but her interest in her Native American heritage. She is one of the very few business owners in Montana that can claim all three Montana labels. The labels include: (1) Made in Montana; (2) Native American business; (3) Products grown in Montana. Montana Sweetgrass products include a number of new items, air/linen spray, bath salts, body mist and hand scrubs.
Orders for Toni’s products are beginning to coming in from all over the world including France, New Zealand and Japan. Because she focuses on quality and confidence in her own artistic whims, Toni’s business is growing beyond her original intentions, never thinking she could be so successful. Toni’s recommendation to any small business is quality; give the best to your product.
Toni’s continues to grow her own grass to ensure the quality of her product, in addition to her natural love of growing she leaves us with this, “It is an amazing feeling to be sitting in the middle of all that fragrant sweetgrass and to see how long it can grow, and how beautiful each blade of grass is.”
The National Center Teaming Alliance has been working with Toni to direct her to support and help in Montana with the SBA offices and to be a support to her small business. Toni’s goal is to carve out enough time in her busy schedule to be able to attend either a Regional RES or RES Las Vegas to network and meet other Native American business people.
To contact Montana Sweetgrass Etc, check out her Facebook page or call her at (406) 899-3433
There is no foolproof method for success in your bid for a government solicitation. However there are ways that you can increase your odds.
Networking is the best way to get noticed. If you see a solicitation that you might be interested in, find out who is the originator, do the research and find out who the people are and go around and introduce yourself. Let people know your strengths and more importantly let people know who you are. The competition for contracts is increasing and in order to keep in the running you must use the most positive and energetic assets that you can to be successful. Getting to know potential clients is essential.
Networking is a skill that is best perfected with practice. Being open and friendly with everyone you meet may result in an introduction that will one day bring you unexpected results. Sometimes it can be stressful to be “on” all the time but it is well worth the effort that you put into it. Everyone has their own sphere of influence and while it may seem to be minor to you, to others it might be very important. Do not underestimate the value of acquaintances and introductions, they can last a lifetime.
Another very important factor is in the details. All the requirements for a winning response to a solicitation are to ensure that all questions are answered and all information required is attended to. Be thorough, read very carefully. If one small detail is inadvertently missed, your proposal will be kicked back. Always have others review your proposal for accuracy, thoroughness and transparency. The more people you have review your work the better. You don’t have to agree with everyone’s recommendations but rest assured omissions and errors will be quickly picked up and will make your presentation much more accurate and detailed. Double check and triple check your numbers, making sure they are accurate. Spell check and grammar check all of your work. Ensure you are reflecting your professionalism.
A professional presentation of information is always well received. Take a little extra time to make your proposal attractive and pleasing to the eye. But be careful that you are not too colorful or edgy. Remember a proposal is an offer to bring attention to your skills or services. You want to present your information in such a way that people will remember you and feel confident in you. Use soft, warm colors that reflect your client’s goals. If you are requested to use a certain size font and paper size you can follow instructions however if there are no instructions remember that a 12 point “times new roman” is a well recognized business font.
Competition is increasing and it is important that you are “out front” in your proposals and bids. If you are unsure don’t hesitate to contact the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development for guidance and recommendation.