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On November 16, Native Nations Institute (NNI) facilitated an introductory Youth Entrepreneur workshop for 14 students from Baboquivari High School on the Tohono O'odham (TO) Nation Reservation. NNI Program Coordinator Mona Nozhackum (Prairie Band of Potawatomi), Executive Director Joan Timeche (Hopi), Research Specialist Andrew Martinez (Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community), and Media Specialist Jason Aragón worked with the youth participants to introduce new concepts, as well as demonstrated how business development relates to their community.
NNI staff spent the morning with students going over the fundamentals of business basics. They reviewed successful business practices in Indian Country and discussed the strengths and challenges of entrepreneurship within the Tohono O'odham Nation. NNI concluded the session with a visioning activity and Invention Convention where students introduce their business ideas. Mona said, "Working with the students is really inspiring. They have such brilliant ideas, and it is exciting to help them see how they can take these ideas, along with all their love and passion, and turn it into revenue generation. Not only will their success help their families, but it helps the overall health of their community."
NNI and the TO Nation have partnered to offer more significant opportunities for Nation Building to the Nation's youth. Earlier this year TO students attended NNI's Project Youth ACT that helps students affect change through media messaging. Rebecca Cohen, College and Career Mentor at Baboquivari Unified School District also hopes that some of the students who attended the mini Youth Entrepreneur workshop will attend NNI's Youth Entrepreneur Summer Camp.
The camp will be held on the University of Arizona's campus from June 17-21, 2019 and will be a unique opportunity for youth to expand upon the ideas introduced during the morning session. The week-long camp, designed and facilitated by NNI's staff, will take participants through an in-depth study of small business development, entrepreneur skill building, one-on-one advising, and more. Students will leave camp with a complete business plan, and the top business models will receive monetary awards to help with their implementation.
For more information on NNI's Youth Camp or Project Youth Act, contact Mona Nozhackum.
Images featuring: Mona Nozhackum, Joan Timeche, Andrew Martinez, and Baboquivari students