Moonshot at NACET
A $150,000 federal grant to provide business planning and entrepreneurship training for Navajo entrepreneurs has been granted to Navajo Thaw, an extensive economic development plan to address the long-term impacts of the "Bennett Freeze" and the forced relocation eras of Navajo History.
The funds, awarded through the USDA Rural Business Development Grant program, will support Navajo entrepreneurs and existing businesses in the 10-chapter region. Moonshot at NACET, an entrepreneurial development program based in Flagstaff, will provide services under the grant.
"We are so pleased to be a part of the Navajo Thaw effort to bring business planning and entrepreneurial services to our neighbors, the Navajo people," said Moonshot President and CEO Scott Hathcock. "The Navajo Nation has great potential, and we look forward to helping to equip the people with skills that will cultivate new jobs and better wages."
Navajo Thaw is a response to the Bennett Freeze, a 43-year development ban on 1.5 million acres of Navajo land imposed by the federal government for the stated purpose of promoting negotiations to resolve a land dispute between the Navajo and Hopi. After decades of economic devastation, the freeze was lifted in 2009. When regional efforts to revitalize the area began last year, all participating Chapters indicated an interest in entrepreneurial development.
Participants in the program will identify business development opportunities, conduct research to understand the marketplace and their potential niche, create financial spreadsheets and projections, gather information on business development resources and, if desired, start business operations.
Navajo Thaw is supported by Native Builders LLC, a Priority 1 Navajo company; Building Communities, a national economic development strategic planning company; and was launched under the leadership of Navajo President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer. The Navajo Hopi Land Commission Office (NHLCO) is the lead organization for the overall Navajo Thaw project.
"We, the Nez/Lizer Administration, have always intended the Navajo Thaw to be about plan implementation, not just planning," said Robert K. Black, Jr., Executive Director for the Navajo Hopi Land Commission Office. "This is one of the first implementation steps for the plan as envisioned by President Nez."