Native Edge Institute Washington

Strengthening the Economic Well Being of Small Businesses

Snoqualmie, WA — The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (The National Center) will bring its premier business development training to the Pacific Northwest for Native Edge Institute (NEI) Washington: Linking Small Businesses to Resources. NEI Washington is a one-day business training event that will take place on Thursday, April 1, 2021 from 8:30 AM – 4:45 PM PST. NEI Washington will be presented in a hybrid format, with virtual and in-person options available. In-person attendance will be limited to ensure proper social distancing for all attendees. You can register here for NEI Washington hosted by Salish Lodge and Spa. The National Center and the host will enforce Centers for Disease Control, state, and local public health guidelines for all in-person attendees.

Register for NEI Washington

NEIs are one-day, in-person and virtual training events that provide both established and aspiring business owners critical business training. NEIs also connect participants to existing resources available in their region by one-on-one business counseling/coaching and matchmaking services. All attendees will gain access to the National Center’s unique N2N (Native-to-Native) business network, as well as the National Center’s in-region procurement and technical assistance training, federal program and procurement coaching, and accessing capital via Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). NEI Washington’s business development sessions will focus on how businesses can strengthen their economic well-being as the nation begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although programming will focus on small businesses, NEI Washington will include vital advice and instruction for enterprises of all sizes. Businesses nationwide are encouraged to attend virtually and take part in this premier business development training. NEI Washington is funded by a grant from the United States Small Business Administration. Here are just some of the presentations you can expect at NEI Washington:

  • Strategic Innovation and Business Design
  • Digital Marketplace and Social Media Strategy
  • Fostering Workplace Culture
  • Post-Pandemic Business Diversification

“We’re excited to make our way to the Pacific Northwest for Native Edge Institute Washington,” said National Center President and CEO, Chris James. “Over the past year, Native-owned businesses have faced – and overcome – many pandemic-related challenges. The National Center has been honored to share their stories and provide them assistance on their business journeys. This knowledge and experience will be at the forefront of NEI Washington, as well as how businesses in our community can begin to plan for the future. We hope to see you—virtually or in-person—in April to learn more about your businesses and how we can help you succeed.”


8:30 AM – 9:30 AM: Welcome  

    • Chris James – President and CEO, The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development
    • Craig Bill – Executive Director Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs
    • Jana Turney – NCAIED BOD Member   
    • Helvi Sandvik – NCAIED BOD Member
    • Robert De Los Angeles – Chairman, Snoqualmie Tribal
    • Jamie Martin- Exec. Director of Governmental Affairs & Special Projects, Snoqualmie Tribe
    • Louie Gong- Founder, 8th Generation


9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Strategic and Operational Planning for Native American Small Businesses  

  • Discuss operational strategy for business transformation across industries.
  • Enhanced operations strategies that drive efficiency, cost benefits, & competitive advantage cross industry expertise.
    • Ernie Rasmussen Tribal Liaison-Directors Office, Washington State Department of Commerce
    • Keri Hurd- District Director, SBA
    • Shana Barehand- Procurement Inclusion and Equity Program Manager, Washington State


10:30 AM – 11:30 AM: Pivoting in a Pandemic- Accessing Capital for Your Business 

  • Learn more about financing for tribes and individual small businesses.
  • Education on loan programs that help facilitate financing for borrowers.
  • Helping you to secure reasonable interest rates and reduce risks.
  • Bridging the gap for lenders and borrowers for all to prosper.
    • Amber Schulz-Oliver, Executive Director, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians- Economic Development Corporation
    • Diana Pickernell, Chehalis Tribal Loan Fund
    • Mike Lettig, National Executive, Native American Financial Services Key Banc Capital Markets


11:30 AM – 12:20 PM: Limit Turnover and Retain Employees- Leadership Styles Needed in the Workplace 

  • The importance of culture and the impacts of culture in retaining employees.
  • How companies manage their infrastructure to keep employees safe, manage pandemic leave, and more.
  • Leadership’s impact in hiring a successful team.
  • Leadership and relationship building of Tribes and assisting small businesses.
    • Nona Lee- Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer at Arizona Diamondbacks
    • Jennifer Grubb- LPC Mental Health Counselor and Coaching Professional, Founder Cairn Consulting and Former Professional Athlete


12:20-12:30: Luncheon Discussion

    • Ron Solimon- NCAIED Board Member
    • Derek Watchman- Chairman, NCAIED Board


1:00 PM – 1:45PM: Empowering your Business: Technical Advice that can Help Sustain and Grow your Business  

  • Learn about how the PTACs provide local, in-person counseling and training services for you, the small business owner.
  • They are designed to provide technical assistance to businesses who desire to sell products and services to federal, state, and/or local governments.
    • Tina Begay- Lead Trainer Sister Sky Inc
    • Tiffany Scroggs, ACAS Program Manager Washington Procurement Technical Assistance


1:45 PM – 2:15PM: Funding Finder: A Website Connecting Small Businesses to Funding

  • Small business resilience project through University of Washington
  • Creating a digital product to connect small businesses to investors and resources for financial literacy
  • COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted small businesses especially Tribal-owned and other BIPOC small businesses
  • Funding Finder aims to make post-pandemic recovery more equitable and accessible by easing the process of finding and applying to grants or loans by matching small businesses to funding (grants and loans) and technical assistance (e.g. financial experts and orgs like Sister Sky)
  • The website is for small businesses to find resources, assistance organizations, and funding that best matches their business
  • Core features include a financial literacy library, lists of funding and assistance orgs, a questionnaire that filters that list to the best matches for a business
    • Abigail Quinsay, Kelson Flint, Lauren Ng, Angel McCray-Lupson- Team of Informatics majors at the University of Washington


 2:15 PM – 3:15 PM: Government Contracting & Business Development Updates 

  • Training on nascent federal contractors regarding the benefits of participating in various small business contracting and set-aside programs.
  • Eligibility criteria, affiliation concerns, program benefits, and how to maintain eligibility.
  • Small Business Contracting Programs for 8(a) Business Development, HUBZone, Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, Women Owned Small Business, and Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business Programs.
    • John Shoraka- CEO, Government Pros Contracting


3:15 PM–4:00 PM: Small Business Owner Panel – Q & A/ Tips for Inspiring Colleagues 

  • Briefings by the small business leadership responsible for Native American small businesses.
  • A review of agencies’ forecasts, policy updates, and program processes to position your entity for success.
  • Discussion on ways to navigate business ownership through networking and leadership.
    • Jeff Barehand- CEO Sky Bear Media
    • Rick Dickenson – Business Adviser, Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship
    • Mari Wruble- Certified Business Advisor, Washington Small Business Development Center
    • Jill Neumeister – CEO, Business Development Pawnee, ORCA Design Group, LLC
    • Ted Wright- Executive Director, Spokane Tribe of Indians


4:00PM–4:45PM: Avenues of Economic Development – Partnerships that Work  

  • Discussion on ways the small business owner can harness and grow their business through networking, leadership, and their economic strengths and assets.
  • Economic development is the necessary and beneficial tool that allows communities and states to flourish in a fast-paced world.
  • Avenues of promoting economic development, sometimes in unexpected and surprising ways.
    • Eric Trevan – Director of Tribal Partnerships Heritage Distilling Company, Inc. – Chehalis Tribe
    • Justin Stiefel – CEO, Co-Founder Heritage Distilling Co.
    • Joe Olujic – CEO, Muckelshoot Indian Tribe
    • Jamie SiJohn – Chewelah Casino Marketing Manager-Spokane Tribe

Register for NEI Washington