Four Corners residents have a new tool to buy, sell or trade products and services. The online marketplace Rezlist.org creates a space where the public can post new or used items for sale, services, and job openings, as well as events and public information.
Rezlist founder Edward Chato-Seaton, a Navajo Nation member, conceived the idea for the platform when he was looking for parts for his 1976 Chevy Nova from his home in Kayenta, Arizona, which is not an available marketplace on Craigslist, according to a Grand Canyon Trust report by Jessica Stago, the program manager for the Native American Business Incubator Network (NABIN). Formed on the Navajo Reservation to inspire tribal visionaries to start meaningful and successful businesses, NABIN co-hosted the 2017 Native Startup Innovation Challenge with Navajo-owned Catapult Design that garnered the 27-year-old Chato-Seaton a year of free business incubation services as a finalist.
This month, Chato-Seaton plans to go on a tour of Navajo Nation flea markets to spread the word about Rezlist. “The Navajo Nation is rural and revenue flows through every day, yet there’s no online space for selling used products, services, or even listing job openings,” Chato-Seaton said in a release. “On the Rez, a lot of people use Facebook when they have items to sell, but that’s not a safe way to conduct business online because your Facebook profile can reveal personal information. The Rezlist.org platform allows sellers to protect their private information and remain somewhat anonymous.”
Organized very similarly to Craigslist, anyone can access Rezlist.org and choose a community from three states: Arizona, New Mexico, or Utah. With all 110 Navajo Nation chapters represented on the site, it’s simple to post or search for nearby items for sale, or events and services.
“Communities on the reservation often rely on flyers posted on a board at local chapter houses and word of mouth to sell products or services,” Stago said. “Rezlist.org saw a gap and filled it, offering people in rural Native communities a new way to post events, services, and important public information.”
Chato-Seaton’s Rezlist.org was one of six finalists in the 2017 Innovation Challenge. Three Navajo entrepreneurs secured $5,000 in start-up prize money and one year of business counseling and advising services to get their start-ups off the ground. Catapult Design launched the Innovation Challenge to identify Native entrepreneurs with business ideas that have the potential to improve life in Native American communities.
The three 2017 Innovation Challenge winners included:
- Timothy Clani Jr., a Navajo certified auto technician and founder of Min’s Automotive in Upper Fruitland, New Mexico, who proposed a mobile auto shop that caters to rural customers
- Amber Kanazbah Crotty, whose project involves developing a model of financial sustainability and growth for a network of farmers growing traditional foods in Sheep Springs, New Mexico
- Laura Clelland, a Navajo certified orthotics fitter in Winslow, Arizona, whose idea will serve diabetes patients by providing foot care to reduce the risk of limb amputation in Native American communities