A Message From Our President – February 2019

It’s hard to believe that the 2019 Reservation Economic Summit is less than seven weeks away! We have been putting the finishing touches on the largest economic development event in Indian Country, which is moving to Paris Las Vegas this year. We have recently released the first draft of our agenda. As you can see, topics run the gamut, from tribal economic diversification, to energy, agriculture, telecommunications, gaming, contracting, business development, technology and IT, and much more. I hope you’ll take a look at the agenda and stay tuned for updates – including keynote speakers and entertainment.

The stories we’re sharing in February’s newsletter showcase the depth and breadth of the National Center. We feature both a smaller, tribally owned business and a fortune 500 company in Google. We also recap our recent Native American 40 under 40 celebration in Tulsa with an excellent video I hope you will watch and share. The National Center exists to help start-up and small businesses grow and become successful – and even enter the supply chain of some of the world’s largest corporations. These businesses will be at RES – make sure to meet and network with them.

In Washington, DC, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee passed legislation that would aid tribal businesses and communities, and Vice Chairman of the Committee Senator Tom Udall reintroduced legislation that would boost business incubators in Indian Country that has also passed the Committee. The Committee is off to a great start, and we were proud to join other organizations in offering our support for this legislation.

Moving further south, in the coming weeks we’ll host our first Native Edge Institutes on the East Coast, with the first in Orlando on February 19th and the second in my hometown of Cherokee, NC on February 21st.  We hope you’ll join us!

And finally, as tax season begins in earnest, I wanted to take a second to talk about what the National Center, as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, does with your support. We are able to host events like RES that bring together thousands of people, but also smaller programming like the Native Edge Institutes. Your support assists our Native American Procurement Technical Assistance Centers and their work with businesses and entrepreneurs. It funds our new Native CDFI program, about which I will share more soon. And it helps us build out a top-rate staff and team of consultants that helps us reach our larger goals. We thank you for your continued support – we wouldn’t be where we are without you.

Can’t wait to see many of you in Las Vegas!


Chris James
President and CEO
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development

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