|Oct 31, 2010 --
For Dana Bumgarner, the first-ever “Innovations in Indianpreneurship” event at the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeastern Oregon this September was much more than a business plan competition. It was a launching pad for her up-and-coming enterprise, Cayuse Country Flowers and Gifts.
“Since winning, I have received quite a bit of publicity and recognition in the community and surrounding areas,” Ms. Bumgarner commented. “The contacts I have made have and will be great to maintain as my business continues to grow.”
Ms. Bumgarner’s winning strategy brought her first place, as well as a $10,000 cash award to continue to grow her small, Native American-owned business. She was the overall winner out of seven finalists from Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Washington. Prize money for first place and runners up was provided by a number of nonprofits, businesses and Tribes.
To help develop and promote the event, USDA Rural Development in Oregon provided $173,246 through the Rural Business Enterprise Grant program—also known as RBEG—through the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The funding was provided to the Oregon Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network (ONABEN), which organized the competition. In addition to supporting the Native American business plan competition, ONABEN is using grant funds to create a related business development Web site and resources and also to conduct a market survey of Tribal business opportunities.
“The sovereign Tribal Nations of the Northwest and their Tribal members are an integral part of Oregon’s rural communities. They are key players in rural economic development in the state and across the region,” said Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker.
“We feel it is critical to support economic development efforts in Indian Country if we want to see economic growth in rural America as a whole,” she explained.
According to ONABEN Executive Director Tom Hampson, Innovations in Indianpreneurship will serve as a catalyst for the development of successful business models and sustained economic growth in Indian Country.
“Opportunities like this will help encourage private enterprise, diversify the economic base, and increase the long-term self-sufficiency of Native American economies,” Hampson commented. “As important,” he continued, “is that this event is regarded as a creative and culturally appropriate way to generate financial and social capital in support of entrepreneurship in the Native American community.”
According to Ms. Walker, USDA Rural Development has made it a priority to assist Native American Tribes, communities, businesses and individuals as they expand and develop their economic development opportunities.
“The Native American community has unique assets as well as unique challenges, and USDA Rural Development offers a number of program opportunities to help increase economic opportunity in Indian Country,” Walker said.
For more information about Innovations in Indianpreneurship and ONABEN, visit the ONABEN Web site at: http://www.onaben.org/index.php.
Photo Caption: Innovations in Indianpreneurship competition winner Dana Bumgarner is congratulated by USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker.
Innovations in Indianpreneurship Major Partners:
University of Washington Foster BEDC
USDA Rural Development
First Nations Development Institute
Yakama Nation Land Enterprise
Wildhorse Resort & Casino
Siletz Tribal Business Corporation
Umatilla Business Service Center
Coquille Indian Tribe
Warm Springs Ventures
Island Enterprises, Inc.
Bainbridge Graduate Institute
Contributors and Supporters:
Clear Water Printing
Red Hummingbird Media Corp.
Red Elk Images, Dallas Dick
Oregon Website Design
PDX Web Hosting
Sterling Savings Bank
Jaeger & Associates
Tribal Plant Nursery