Once in awhile, I talk to a tribe that isn’t quite ready to invest in telecom infrastructure. We talk a little more and sometimes they identify tribal members that may have the entrepreneurial bug and expertise to start a business. This presents a win for the tribe when they can support new business development on their Reservation. An entrepreneur can develop their own company and telecom brand to offer services on and off the Reservation by getting wholesale services from Native Network to enable them. Today, there can be very little upfront costs to get going.
This is a direction that can be pursued and there are many resources in Indian Country that can support an entrepreneur. The National Center for American Indian for Enterprise Development (NCAIED) comes to mind because soon I will be headed to the annual RES Economic Summit in Las Vegas. I am a raving fan of this organization and the programs it has – so I head to this conference each year to get infiltrated with the latest and greatest connections, resources and energy from this platform.
As a serial entrepreneur, now having started my 6th company, 3 of which were focused on bringing telecommunications to rural and underserved markets in the Pacific Northwest – and today in Indian County – I wish I’d had half the resources that exist today. My business partner likes to say “I hope entrepreneurs today don’t have to walk uphill, barefoot both directions like we did.”
Whether you are a tribal government, enterprise or entrepreneur starting and growing your business to be competitive in today’s global marketplace is more important than ever. At the annual RES and the other regional gatherings throughout the year, there is a wealth of information for opportunities for government procuring, joint ventures and more.
A few years ago, NCAIED brought to market, The Native Edge. Check it out at www.nativeedge.com. It provides business owners and entrepreneurs with many valuable tools and resources to increase their opportunities and to expand their customer base and business possibilities. It touches on everything from formation, hiring, training, procurement and more. When an entrepreneur can be part of a larger community and develop mentors and peers that understand the day to day challenges – there isn’t any better form of support.
If you are at RES and I haven’t met you, track me down. I can share some success stories and some hard knocks lessons I have learned over the years while building my businesses. I’d also love the opportunity to discuss my vision for telecom and technology deployment in Indian Country. I’m passionate about it and I hope you will be too.
This editorial was written for and published in the Tribal Business Journal, March 2018 issue.