A new online portal designed to provide a host of business opportunities for Indian country is scheduled to be unveiled at this year's National Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas.
The portal, called Native Edge, will provide information and opportunities for hiring, networking, training, education and more for Native Americans, said Gary Davis, president and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, a nonprofit organization that assists American Indian tribes and their enterprises with business and economic development.
"We have operated so many different programs over the last nearly 50 years to advance economic development, business development and no matter how great of a job we've done, or other folks in Indian country have done, we didn't have the accessibility or technology to better serve the community," Davis told ICTMN.
Native Edge will be launched at the RES Summit, which is scheduled for March 9-12 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Though Davis said he is proud of the reach the National Center has in Indian country, he believes there is room to do more. Native Edge is one solution. "If we're only reaching 5,000 or 10,000 people total, given the 2 or 3 million people out there, I don't think we're doing a good enough job," he said, later adding: "We're basically doing everything we can do possibly to eliminate the excuse of why we don't buy Native and support Native."
Native Edge, which can be accessed at NativeEdge.com, has been under development for at least two years. Davis didn't want to disclose how much the website cost to develop, but said the organization was able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars by working with people and groups who appreciate the nonprofit work that the NCAIED does.
For the second year in a row, this year's RES Summit will be held over four days instead of three, and Davis said examining different opportunities for business and how to expand into other sectors will be a focus.
Among those expected to be in attendance at the event are Dot Harris, director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy, and David Conrad, the interim director of Indian Policy and Programs at the Department of Energy. Attendees will learn about how to do business with DOE and how to engage with partners in the energy sector, Davis said.
The Reservation Economic Summit will also host business boot camp, which will include information on accessing capital, accounting and workforce development. Representatives from various banks and lenders including Wells Fargo will be on hand to share information about funding projects. "We want to make sure that we're doing our part, not to just talk about opportunities, but we're providing ways that that opportunity can actually manifest itself and become a reality," Davis said.