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It’s been another exciting and productive month at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development as we continue to support business and economic development throughout Indian Country. So far this year, we have consulted with and provided technical assistance to over 200 Native American businesses through our new National Center Technical Assistance Program (NCTAP) and our American Indian Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (AIPTAC). A few of these success stories can be found in our September newsletter. The National Center means business for Indian Country, and we continue to grow and find new ways to reach that mission.

In August, we held our second Native Edge Institute at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, near Seattle.  Partnering with Microsoft and Arctic IT, over 70 leaders from tribes and businesses were trained on cyber protection and cyber security, as well as the opportunities for tribes in this increasingly important sector. We learned the importance of keeping our networks safe and how to prevent unwelcome access to data. We also learned about trends and new technologies to help our enterprises grow.

In the afternoon, participants heard from best-selling author David Emerald, author for The Power of TED. Mr. Emerald presented “The Empowerment Dynamic,” which touched how to transform everyday drama and opt for more growth-oriented solutions. His lesson on improved leadership was not only empowering, but audience members left with new strategies for business success.

Participants also heard from National Center board member Lillian Sparks Robinson, who is our featured board member in this month’s newsletter. Lillian discussed leadership during her transition from government into the private sector, where she now owns her own business. Sharing her personal story and the lessons she has learned throughout her career were very helpful to attendees.

While I was in Seattle, I spent some time with 8th Generation business owner Louie Gong in his flagship store in the iconic Pike Place Market. Louie was one of the keynote speakers at our Reservation Economic Summit in March. Spending time with Louie and seeing first-hand what he does reminds me why our mission at the National Center is so important. Louie Gong is an artist, educator, and public speaker who was raised by his grandparents in the Nooksack tribal community. Although he is best known for his highly sought-after, hand-drawn custom shoes, Louie has received international recognition for a body of work that – like his mixed heritage (Nooksack/Chinese/French/Scottish) – defies categorization.

Our community has such untapped potential to reach many untapped markets – that’s why we support entrepreneurs and help them reach their full potential. Check out our video of my time with Louie in his store and the incredible products he makes.

Our work won’t slow down in October. On the 1st, I will be speaking at Permanens Capital 2018 Investment Committee Symposium in New York City. Check out our social media channels for more information on how you can watch live. We are also excited about hosting not only our third Native Edge Institute, but the 10th anniversary celebration for our Native American 40 under 40 awards. We hope you will join us for this two-day event in Tulsa, Oklahoma on October 29th and 30th for a great engagement celebrating amazing young leaders.

Thanks again for your continued support of the National Center.


Chris James