Initiate Prosperity Snapshot

Creating Greater Collaboration

The arrival of COVID-19 caused stress and financial hardship for many business owners all across the world. Native360 Loan Fund knew that their assistance and technical trainings would be more valuable than ever to small, Native-owned business entrepreneurs, ag producers/gardeners to market, farmers and rachers. Meeting with these business owners in person wasn’t an option, but through the use of Zoom virtual meeting technology, Native360 continued to develop strong business leaders in the Nebraska, Iowa and southeastern South Dakota region.

Native360’s strategy through the pandemic was to focus on three types of technical assistance for business leaders: 1-on-1 business coaching; local, regional and national trainings through Zoom; and the use of self-study.

 

Initiate Prosperity

Within the first few months of the pandemic, Native360 had their training platform, Initiate Prosperity, up and running. This platform was designed by Northern Initiatives, a CDFI located in Michigan, and is both proven and intuitive.

Initiate Prosperity blends resources, methods of delivery and content to allow for greater collaboration. This concept benefits the Native entrepreneurs that Native360 serves locally and regionally, but also allows for collaboration with other Native CDFI’s to benefit their community by scaling and leveraging resources.

“Entrepreneurs’ most valuable resource is their time. Having access to this online business development platform 24/7 will provide support when our clients need it,” Pete Upton, Executive Director for Native360 Loan Fund, said. “Clients can remain at their location, practicing good COVID-19 safety, eliminating travel time and expense and increasing the likelihood of using the technical assistance and coaching services. This method of training helped to reach more Native entrepreneurs who are able to participate across our broad service area and connect with Native entrepreneurs across the several midwest regions.”

1-on-1 Coaching and Self-Study

One-on-one coaching provides entrepreneurs with trainings on an individualized and case-by-case basis. Native360 utilizes eight small business coaches and consultants to help business owners, ag producers/gardeners to market, farmers and ranchers on a variety of topics including money, marketing and management. These sessions are designed to provide business owners with customized guidance and coaching through business-related challenges.

Initiate Prosperity has also recognized the importance of self-study. The online platform provides clients with tools that allow for a deeper understanding of business-related topics including business planning, branding and financial management.

Trainings

Since the launch of Initiate Prosperity, a paradigm shift has taken place as a result of the program. Native360, partnered with two great plains CDFI’s, hosted a regional virtual training that connected 17 Native small business owners from three states. Each CDFI marketed the event to their database of clients and was able to bring a diversified group of business leaders together to share their knowledge and experiences.

“What Native360 has learned is that when all of the participants in the training are from the same community, they don’t share openly in fear of others in the group duplicating their competitive strategies or trade secrets,” Pete said. “By taking a collaborative approach with other Native CDFI’s and inviting Native clients from across the region to our virtual training sessions there were much more open discussions and interactions with the facilitators and entrepreneurs. The interaction and cooperation at this event was powerful.”

Zoom trainings have allowed for connection, a place for business leaders to bounce ideas off of one another, offer feedback and brainstorm new business ideas. The relationships that formed during these events last longer than the event itself.

These local, regional and national trainings provide more than knowledge for the entrepreneurs who attend. They put Native small business owners in direct contact with other Native small business owners in different industries and different backgrounds who bring different approaches to solving problems.

Native360 understands the challenges that small businesses face and actively works to help find the right solutions. They will continue using these, and many other resources, to strengthen the Native-owned business community.

New Site Helps Native360 Provide Training During Covid-19 and Beyond

The arrival of COVID-19 caused stress and financial hardship for many business owners all across the world. Native360 Loan Fund knew that their assistance and technical trainings would be more valuable than ever to small, Native-owned business entrepreneurs.

Meeting with these business owners in person wasn’t an option, but through the use of Zoom virtual meeting technology, Native360 continued to develop strong business leaders in the Nebraska, Iowa and southeastern South Dakota region.

Native360’s strategy through the pandemic was to focus on three types of technical assistance for business leaders: 1-on-1 business coaching; local, regional and national trainings through Zoom; and the use of self-study.

Initiate Prosperity

Within the first few months of the pandemic, Native360 had their training platform, Initiate Prosperity, up and running. This platform was designed by Northern Initiatives, a CDFI located in Michigan, and is both proven and intuitive.

Initiate Prosperity blends resources, methods of delivery and content to allow for greater collaboration. This concept benefits the Native entrepreneurs that Native360 serves locally and regionally, but also allows for collaboration with other Native CDFI’s to benefit their community by scaling and leveraging resources.

“Entrepreneurs’ most valuable resource is their time. Having access to this online business development platform 24/7 will provide support when our clients need it,” Pete Upton, Executive Director for Native360 Loan Fund, said. “Clients can remain at their location, practicing good COVID-19 safety, eliminating travel time and expense and increasing the likelihood of using the technical assistance and coaching services. This method of training helped to reach more Native entrepreneurs who are able to participate across our broad service area and connect with Native entrepreneurs across the several Midwest regions.”

1-on-1 Coaching and Self-Study

One-on-one coaching provides entrepreneurs with trainings on an individualized and case-by-case basis. Native360 has secured eight coaches to help business owners on a variety of topics including money, marketing and management. These sessions are designed to provide business owners with customized guidance and coaching through business-related challenges.

Initiate Prosperity has also recognized the importance of self-study. The online platform provides clients with tools that allow for a deeper understanding of business-related topics including business planning, branding and financial management.

Trainings

Since the launch of Initiate Prosperity, a paradigm shift has taken place as a result of the program. Native360, partnered with two great plains CDFI’s, hosted a regional virtual training that connected 17 Native small business owners from three states. Each CDFI marketed the event to their database of clients and was able to bring a diversified group of business leaders together to share their knowledge and experiences.

“What Native360 has learned is that when all of the participants in the training are from the same community, they don’t share openly in fear of others in the group duplicating their competitive strategies or trade secrets,” Pete said. “By taking a collaborative approach with other Native CDFI’s and inviting Native clients from across the region to our virtual training sessions there were much more open discussions and interactions with the facilitators and entrepreneurs. The interaction and cooperation at this event was powerful.”

Zoom trainings have allowed for connection, a place for business leaders to bounce ideas off of one another, offer feedback and brainstorm new business ideas. The relationships that formed during these events last longer than the event itself.

These local, regional and national trainings provide more than knowledge for the entrepreneurs who attend. They put Native small business owners in direct contact with other Native small business owners in different industries and different backgrounds who bring different approaches to solving problems.

Native360 understands the challenges that small businesses face and actively works to help find the right solutions. They will continue using these, and many other resources, to strengthen the Native-owned business community.

Register Now

N360 Executive Director Joins CDFI Call with Janet Yellen

Readout of Janet Yellen and Wally Adeyemo’s
meeting with CDFI and MDI CEOs

Treasury Secretary-designate Janet Yellen and Deputy Treasury Secretary-designate Wally Adeyemo met with a group of Presidents and CEOs representing local, regional and national Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) on the front lines of the economic crisis in urban, rural and tribal communities across the country on Monday.

Dr. Yellen opened the conversation by acknowledging the important role of CDFIs and MDIs in the U.S. economy, in delivering banking and lending services to low-income communities, communities of color and other unbanked and under-banked constituencies. Noting the $9 billion in funding for a new Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP) to provide low-cost, long-term capital for CDFIs and MDIs as well as the additional $3 billion investment in the CDFI Fund included in the COVID relief package moving through Congress, Dr. Yellen pledged to work with these specialized lenders to ensure that those funds are deployed efficiently and effectively to low- and moderate-income and minority communities that need it most.

Dr. Yellen and Mr. Adeyemo pledged  their commitment to increasing CDFIs and MDIs’ small business lending capacity – including capital and technical capacity – so they can continue to expand and grow, and deliver support to those hardest-hit by this crisis, and lift up communities that have been denied access to mainstream banking and lending services.

The leaders thanked Dr. Yellen for raising concerns about income inequality and economic mobility during her tenure at the Federal Reserve, and echoed Dr. Yellen and Mr. Adeyemo’s desire to build stronger public-private partnerships to tackle the threat posed by economic inequality and the racial wealth gap.

Executive leaders from the following CDFIs and MDIs participated in Monday’s call:

  • Lisa Mensah, Opportunity Finance Network (OFN)
  • Frank Altman, Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF)
  • Brian Argrett, City First Bank
  • Betsy Biemann, Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI)
  • Marla Bilonick, Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC)
  • Bill Bynum, Hope Credit Union
  • Martin Eakes, Self-Help Credit Union
  • Donna Gambrell, Appalachian Community Capital
  • Calvin Holmes, Chicago Community Loan Fund
  • Jim King, Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises (FAHE)
  • Jessie Lee, Renaissance Economic Development Corporation
  • Inez Long, Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF)
  • Joe Neri, IFF
  • Pete Upton, Native 360 Loan Fund
  • Luz Urrutia, Opportunity Fund
  • Darren Williams, Southern Bancorp

Thanks for Helping Native360 #GrowWithGoogle

We’ve been selected as one of the five Nebraska nonprofits to win #GICNebraska, with a prize of $175,000 in grant funding and the best of Google’s training and tools.

Entrepreneurs from Five Tribal Nations Meet in Sioux City

Native360 Loan Fund hosted a two-day Native American Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshop in association with RedWind Group on Dec. 5-6 in Sioux City, IA.

Native360 Executive Director Pete Upton provided a team of Native360 consultants to assist Native American entrepreneurs during the two-day event. Attendees from four states and five tribal nations — Ponca, Meskwaki, Seminole, Yankton Sioux and Cherokee — came with a variety of business and entrepreneurial backgrounds.

Native financial institutions hold policy summit in Washington D.C. November 19-21

Pictured: NCN Chairman Pete Upton, Congresswoman Deb Haaland, and Executive Director Jackson Brossy at meeting to discuss modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) on August 27, 2019.(Photo: Native CDFI Network)

Native American-serving community development financial institutions to set policy priorities and then meet directly with Congress

News Release

Native CDFI Network

The Native CDFI Network (NCN) will hold the first annual Policy Summit this week in Washington, D.C., on November 19-21. At the Summit, Native American-serving community development financial institutions (NCDFIs) will set policy priorities and then meet directly with Congress to advocate for strategies that will help grow Native economies.

Native CDFI Network is the only national nonprofit membership organization dedicated to Native Community Development Financial Institutions (NCDFIs), as defined by the U.S. Treasury CDFI Fund. The network was founded in 2009 by Native American-serving community development financial institutions serving American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians in rural, urban, and trust land communities. Nationally, there are 65 Treasury-Certified and 15 Emerging Native American-serving community development financial institutions in 23 states across the country. Native CDFI Network members are powerful vehicles delivering investment, economic, and housing capital across Indian Country.

Native American-serving community development financial institutions work primarily in tribal areas of the country to increase access to capital for small business, housing, consumer, and tribal or Native-owned economic development projects through the delivery of community-based loan fund programs, financial literacy, business training and the facilitation of investment instruments to underserved Native communities. These Native or Tribally controlled nonprofits are at the front line of growing assets, creating jobs, and building economies across Indian Country.

Native CDFI Network Chairperson Pete Upton of Native 360 Loan Fund stated, “we are looking forward to a lively and comprehensive discussion about our shared policy challenges. We will turn these challenges into action items so that together, we help build access to capital in our communities, create jobs, and grow our economies”

Upton added, “we have a packed agenda — discussion items include how to increase access to capital for Native American-serving community development financial institutions, modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) so that banks are incentivized to invest in Indian Country, and how Native communities can have fair access to New Market Tax Credit allocations. Native American-serving community development financial institutions must be at the policy-making table, and we are here to make our voices heard.”

Native CDFI Network Policy Chairperson Robin Danner of the Homestead Loan Fund of Hawaii added, “the Policy Summit is where leaders in the Native American-serving community development financial institutions movement will meet to set the advocacy agenda for 2020 and beyond. Native American-serving community development financial institutions are creating jobs and growing assets all across the country, and Congress can help accelerate this growth. We invite anyone interested in advancing the Native American-serving community development financial institutions movement to attend.”

The meeting will feature a variety of speakers from Members of Congress, to executives of national community development organizations, to experts in Native American policy. Speakers include Native American Congresswomen Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, Maurice Jones of LISC, Marietta Rodriguez of NeighborWorks America, Marion McFadden of Enterprise, Kevin Allis of the National Congress of American Indians, and Dante Desiderio of the Native American Finance Officers Association.

Native CDFI Network is partnering to hold the meeting at the National Indian Gaming Association’s Stanley Crooks Conference Center at 224 Second Street, SE, Washington, DC. On-site registration will be available on November 19 and 20.

More information on the Native CDFI Network can be found at:

facebook.com/nativecdfinetwork/

www.nativecdfi.net

Native CDFI Network logo

Free 2-Day Native American Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshop

Aspiring Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner?

Attend a free 2-Day Native American Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshop

December 5 -6 | 9 am – 4 pm

  • Hilton Garden Inn Riverfront, 1132 Larsen Park Rd., Sioux City Iowa.
  • Class materials & refreshments provided
  • Training by RedWind in Partnership with the Native360 Loan Fund – certified Native CDFI

FIRST TEN TO REGISTER WILL RECEIVE ONE FREE NIGHT HOTEL ACCOMMODATION

TO REGISTER CONTACT:

Brent Johnson

Native360 Loan Fund
308-850-1985
brent@native360.org

Pete Upton

Native360 Loan Fund
308-850-0303
pete@native360.org

REGISTER ONLINE AT:
https://www.nativesmallbusiness.org/native360_2019_2

Native American Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshops are provided to native communities across the country through support from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA). ONAA contracted with RedWind to provide workshops through contract number: SBAHQ-17-F-0050.

Download a PDF flyer on the workshop.

Upton Meets with Other National Leaders in New Mexico to Discuss Capital Needs

ALBUQUERQUE – Native American leaders, bankers and federal officials met here Aug. 27-28 to discuss capital needs of Indian Country and modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to better meet the needs of tribal governments and citizens.

Entrepreneurs from Nine Tribal Nations Gather for Empowerment Workshop

Native360 Loan Fund hosted a Native American Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshop in association with RedWind Group on April 1-2 in Carter Lake, IA. Many of the 17 attendees had extensive business experience, while others are still on the path to their dream of owning a business.

Native360 Executive Participates in Harvard Program

NeighborWorks America selected Pete Upton, executive director of Native360 Loan Fund Inc., was one of 45 leaders for the NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The NeighborWorks program, sponsored in part by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, is an 18-month program that provides executives with skills to advance their organizations’ performance. Each participant identifies and clearly defines a specific challenge critical to their organization’s success then spends the program addressing that challenge.

Achieving Excellence includes three formal sessions at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as well as one-on-one executive coaching and intensive peer learning.  The program kicked off at Harvard Sept. 11-15, and three additional meetings are planned across the country. Between academic sessions, participants worked on a goal critical to their organization’s success and worked closely with their executive coach and peer group.

“The Achieving Excellence Program gives leaders the tools to build stronger organizations—more engaged and results-oriented staff and board members working to increase their impact in the communities they serve,” said Christina Deady, senior director of leadership and workforce development at NeighborWorks America

Achieving Excellence has graduated nearly 400 executive directors, CEOs and other senior leaders since the program began in 2002. Independent evaluations have shown positive results for organizations that have participated in this program.

In an impact evaluation of a recent class of the NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program, 72 percent created positive change in their communities, 77 percent raised staff performance and morale, and 100 percent improved organizational strength and results. For more information about the NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program, go to www.neighborworks.org/ae.

About Native360 Loan Fund Inc.

Native360 provides affordable financial services to members of all tribes in Nebraska, Iowa and southeast South Dakota. It provides affordable credit, capital, technical assistance and related programs to help build strong and self-sufficient Native American business owners.

About NeighborWorks America

For nearly 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. (d/b/a NeighborWorks America), a national, nonpartisan nonprofit, has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to home ownership and safe, affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $34 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.