‘Indianpreneurship’ training sets Nevada tribal businesses up to succeed
This story was first published in the March 2017 edition of First Nation's Focus.
RENO, Nev. — Across Nevada, many tribal members are learning how to build and sustain their own business at “Indianpreneurship” workshops.
The 5-year-old microenterprise development program of the Indian Dispute Resolution Service (IDRS) provides business classes in a low-key workshop setting on nine Nevada tribal reservations.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Development Grants, the training workshops cover business planning, accounting and QuickBooks training, financial planning, negotiation and computer literacy.
“We believe that business planning training and technical assistance is invaluable for the potential small business owner. It increases the chances of success and reduces the risk of failure and potential monetary loss. It also helps the entrepreneur learn more about their business and provides a roadmap that the entrepreneur can follow once they begin,” said Mark Thompson, IDRS’ acting executive director.
One beneficiary of the Nevada workshops has been the Great Basin Native Artists, a non-profit organization of Nevada Native American Artists. A founding member of the organization had participated in Indianpreneurship workshops on the Pyramid Lake Reservation and in 2014 helped form the non-profit to help showcase and promote the work of Native artists living and working in the Great Basin.
Since then, the Great Basin Native Artists has held multiple exhibitions and have joined with IDRS to provide small business development training tailored to Native artists. Many of their artists are showing and competing in national exhibitions including the Autry and Heard Museums and at the Santa Fe Indian Market.
They have also developed their own web site to showcase the artists in the group. Their art is on display at the Carson City Visitors Bureau through June 19. More information is on line at http://www.greatbasinnativeartists.com.
During the past three years, the program has received $335,086 in support through grants from the USDA Rural Development (USDA RD) in Nevada. The Rural Business Development Grant supports funding for projects that provide rural areas with technical assistance and training in support of small and emerging business enterprise. This grant is currently open for applications, for more information contact Laura Chavez at (775) 887-1222 ext. 117.
The nine Tribes that have participated in the training include: Ely Shoshone Tribe, Fallon Paiute –Shoshone Tribe, Moapa Band of Paiutes, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Reno Sparks Indian Colony, Wells Band of Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians, Walker River Paiute Tribe, Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California and Yerington Paiute Tribe.
IDRS is always looking for more training and technical assistance opportunities. For more information go online to http://www.idrsinc.org/microenterprise or call IDRS at 916-482-5800.
Kelly Clark works as Special Projects, Public Affairs & Native American Coordinator for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development.