The future of Native business

Indian Country Today

National Center for American Indian Enterprise and Development, NCAIED, Chad Marchand looks into the future of Native business and entrepreneurship. Also Kalle Benallie explains how one social media site's users are able to report culturally insensitive costumes.

Unemployment numbers are up and businesses down in this pandemic. The economic impact is being measured in many ways. And the question many are asking is what is the future? On today's show Chad Marchand of the Colville Confederated and Vice President for NCAIED attempts to tackle that question.

Plus Indian Country Today intern Kalle Benallie tells us about a new feature Pinterest has created to report offensive Native costumes this Halloween.

Some quotes from today's show. 

Chad Marchand:

"I'm vice president of the national center and this past summer we were able to partner with the center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. That survey took place over the course of the summer and we're able to actually gather 400 responses from that survey that took place. The findings itself, to go through those a little bit with you, about 68% of our respondents reported at least a 20% revenue loss over that course of time. 16% actually experienced a hundred percent loss during the course of Covid over the past few months. 41% of our respondents to the survey were either furloughed or were actually laid off as employees, as a result of the pandemic during that time. And 36% of our businesses surveyed applied for a loan actually through the federal paycheck protection program or PPP. With 22% actually receiving a loan after they applied. Nearly half or about 48% of the respondents believe their businesses are more than six months away from returning to normal, relative to one year ago. About 27% were predicting actually that businesses will never return to normal. For us, it's a clear indication that businesses really need our help. You really need our continued help. Before there are anywhere close to returning to normal and the national centers is doing our part, hopefully I can explain getting them back up and running."

"And so I have a wider spectrum. And so we through our summer programs and know I can get into a little bit more. We have our Native Edge Institute program, which does really on the ground programmatic work throughout the country. Before a covert hit for pre March, we're doing pretty much one training a month. And those range from Florida to Alaska this next year, we're looking at going back to Alaska, actually California, Louisiana. And so the trainings are pretty much all around the country. Those range from pretty much entrepreneurs just getting started thinking about a business to multi billion dollar organizations that are, that are, have, you know, hundreds of employees. And so it is something where it is kind of a wide range of spectrum, depending on the programmatic mechanism they're engaging with us. We do have a P-tech program, which is our Procurement Technical Assistance program. And that's been around about 25 years. They actually did a survey themselves internally for their clients. Their clients are around a thousand people within that client base themselves. This last year between fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2020 they reported almost $40 million in loss and contracts alone to tribally owned businesses. That's about 42 less awards going to those businesses overall from fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2020."

"The Native American Business Incubators program ACT was actually passed I believe a couple weeks ago. It was legislation that actually helped establish business incubators to cater to the civic needs of Indian Country. The legislation actually has worked out for many years. The National Center was a big proponent or advocate of that. It was passed by the House and it was recently passed by the Senate. Creating incubators will be a big step forward. A lot of our Native American communities and businesses around the country are entrepreneurs. I think that establishing that kind of education and technology and availability of resources will be great. We are doing our part, I think right now with our Native institutes. I think more education is always going to be needed and the resources are always going to be needed to get people more involved in the field of entrepreneurship. I think hopefully we'll continue to advance for funding in that program. Hopefully funding will come down the road with that and be able to advance more businesses. If we’re losing 30% of our businesses as reported by that survey. Those types of programs are heavily needed and funding is definitely needed going forward."

Kalle Benallie:

"Pinterest has added a new feature to help users pin different posts that might contain culturally insensitive costumes and so that may include Native American costumes. Kolby KickingWoman one of our reporters did a story about how there are appropriated costumes for Native Americans and how there was once an Instagram filter that had some Native American imagery to be shown as a costume. It's been part of their culturally insensitive custom categories."

"This new feature has directly given the users more power in deciding which ones are more culturally insensitive. And also they have improved their feature feed. When you choose a costume that you like, and maybe it is culturally insensitive and you search for new one, it will improve your feed and make sure that it doesn't show up again. Or if does it show a similar one. So this one is a little more I would say interactive and a little more smart."

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. She is also the anchor of the weekday newscast. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

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