During July 12-16, the Native Nations Institute hosted its second virtual Native American Youth Entrepreneurship Program. Our virtual entrepreneurship program is an abridged version of our weeklong camp that we previously hosted on campus at the University of Arizona. Our team worked hard to ensure that we provided the students with relevant content that they would need to develop and grow their businesses. During our online sessions we introduce the concepts of sales, marketing, and finance. We help the students discover who the target market is for their product or service, and we cover how they can track their finances. The students then complete a business plan worksheet, which they can later use to seek additional funding. Our team also works to stay in constant contact with the students. We provide a “business development hour” where students can ask our facilitators questions and discuss their business ideas.
Some students come to the program with only an idea for a business; others join us with products already for sale on their website. It is this range of experience students bring to the program that keeps things interesting. Our team works hard to learn about the interests of the students. We follow up with each student, and we continuously ask questions in breakout sessions so that the students are learning from our team and the experience of their peers.
During the final day of the Native American Youth Entrepreneurship program, the students submit two-minute business pitch videos. Native American entrepreneurs and student’s family and community members, join us online to watch each submitted video during the student showcase. This year we were honored to have Vernell Chase (Gros-Ventre Tribe and of Assiniboine & Mandan), Director of Tribal Relations and Business Development for FlintCo, serve as our judge for the student business pitch videos. Vanessa Roanhorse (Diné/Navajo) of Roanhorse Consulting (RCLLC) gave an inspiring and impactful keynote speech: