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. Dustin Coon from Detroit, MI, traveled the furthest distance to participate in the two-day event.

The workshop began with a candid discussion of the skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur. Topics included technical, managerial, entrepreneurial and personal maturity — all skills needed to be a business owner. The morning of day one concluded with a discussion of the types of resources with which entrepreneurs should surround themselves.

In the afternoon, the training transitioned into structuring a business plan, which is the cornerstone of building a business. Our group finished day one touching on business goals and how they drive decision making.

Day two of the workshop opened with a discussion of using marketing and social media to grow the business. Topics included the multichannel marketing model and developing a marketing plan. Presenters shared with the group best practices for developing a website and using social media. A good portion of the morning was spent coaching entrepreneurs about which marketing channels  to use when interacting with consumers.

The afternoon session kicked off with a discussion of the steps involved in setting up a business. They included legal representation, business taxes, insurance, record keeping, breakeven, budgeting and financial statements. As a group, we reviewed scenarios entrepreneurs face every day.

The group finished the two-day workshop discussing financing, management and operations. In our final session, we discussed surrounding the business owner with professionals who can help guide entrepreneurs to a path of building thriving native-owned businesses.