In an effort to tap specific regions of Indian country, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) launched regional Reservation Economic Summit (RES) events in the model of its National RES, the nonprofit's signature event typically held in Las Vegas, starting with RES Oklahoma in November, hosted at the Tulsa Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and sponsored by the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and Cherokee Nation Businesses. Next came RES California in June at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, sponsored by Chukchansi, Inc. and the Native American Financial Services Association.
RES Arizona, NCAIED’s third Regional RES, is being sponsored by Chukchansi, Inc. and the Gila River Indian Community, October 22-24, at Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino in Chandler, Arizona. RES Arizona will feature respected tribal leaders, state and local elected officials, top CEOs, the National Center’s Twenty Grand Business Plan Competition, the 38th Annual Indian Progress in Business (INPRO) Awards multiple networking opportunities, a leadership seminar, teaming opportunities, a business development expo, procurement expo, business trade show, the 5th Annual Native American 40 Under 40 Awards, American Indian artisans, Tribal Business Leaders Forum, National Center Energy Forum and much more. RES Arizona will also include the RES Arizona Golf Tournament to be held at the beautiful and award-winning Whirlwind Golf Resort.
RES Arizona will premiere the NCAIED’s Twenty Grand Business Plan Competition wherein both start up and established Native American businesses (wholly owned by an enrolled member of any State or Federally recognized Tribal Nation, Alaska Native or Canadian First Nations), from across North America, will compete for the chance to win a $20,000 cash award from the NCAIED.
Gary Davis, the president and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development, has contributed to National RES for the past decade as a vendor, its host and emcee and as a former NCAIED board member. The expansion of NCAIED’s Reservation Economic Summit’s are part of a proactive approach to business in Indian Country—which includes, among other visions, the idea that the power of the NCAIED’s National RES could be grown by way of its regional summits throughout the year.
“Among the many economic development initiatives that we are spearheading at the NCAIED, we're very focused on building relationships between corporate America, our tribes and tribal enterprises as well as the diversity community nationwide,” he said. “Each of these new relationships has the potential to provide sustainable revenue and further diversify Indian Country's economic base. We will continue to grow these relationships throughout the year at our National and Regional Reservation Economic Summits."
Indian country is continually strengthening its presence on the national and global business scene. The U.S. Census Bureau, for example, reports that American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses made $3.7 billion in 1987, $8.1 billion in 1992, $26.9 billion in 2002 and $34 billion in 2007.
The NCAIED has been fueling this extraordinary growth, helping to shape it and encourage its distinctly Native character. The National Center is vigilant about operating through its First Principals, a statement of the highest aspirations and the oldest elements of Native culture, as it fosters procurement opportunities between Native Americans and major companies that are rapidly recognizing and embracing this world-class event. Each year, countless Native-owned businesses are forged and strengthened because of the vibrant energy and the phenomenal opportunities that abound via the NCAIED’s National and Regional RES events.
At RES Arizona, the business trade show will include exhibits from Fortune 500 corporations, tribes, tribal enterprises, federal agencies, small businesses and entrepreneurs. The RES Arizona Procurement Expo will focus on Federal, State, City, Tribal and Corporate suppliers meeting with buyers at their booths. RES Arizona will offer several receptions, mixers and meals to encourage a high level of networking opportunities.
At RES Arizona, the NCAIED held its first, “National Center Energy Forum” on Tuesday, providing attendees with several roundtable sessions offering valuable insights from tribal leaders, energy professionals and representatives from utilities such as Arizona Public Services, Salt River Project and Edison International. The Energy Forum addressed a variety of topics from tribal utility development to energy investment strategies and new IRS rulings.
Breakout sessions covered topics on human resources, accounting, social media, energy, finance, technology, taxation, mobile app development, marketing, real estate, economic development on tribal lands, leadership training, global enterprise, education, mobile enterprise solutions, agriculture, procurement and more.
RES Arizona’s keynote speakers are handpicked to inspire and include Mr. Darren Law. Mr. Law is an International racing champion and the COO of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving located at the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Mr. Law is a man of many talents and also serves as an on-air commentator for Fox’s Speed Channel. Dr. Jim Davis, the President of Turtle Mountain Community College will provide the keynote during NCAIED’s Scholarship Awards Luncheon at RES Arizona.
RES Arizona, will serve as host to NCAIED’s annual scholarship awards luncheon, which presents several American Indian Business Scholarships to deserving students, from across the United States, in order to assist them in achieving their higher education goals.
On the final evening of RES Arizona, NCAIED will hold its 38th Annual Indian Progress in Business Awards (INPRO) Gala. At INPRO, the NCAIED celebrates and awards key Indian businesses, corporations and entrepreneurs for their accomplishments and leadership in advancing the economic sector in Indian Country. The INPRO gala also recognizes accomplished tribal citizens who are making positive contributions across Indian Country with the NCAIED’s “Native American 40 under 40” awards ceremony.
As extraordinary as RES Arizona promises to be, Davis is committed to making sure its reach continues to expand nationwide.
“Sometimes we get blinded by the opportunities in our own state, or our own region,” he says. “Sometimes we forget that there’s money to be made all over the country and around the world.”
“And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be thinking bigger.” he says; Davis sees no reason why Indian country can’t shine in international trade. He visited the White House last year to unveil NCAIED’s new Native American Global Trade Center and next year the NCAIED will hold it’s fourth Regional RES, “RES D.C.” in Washington, D.C.
“At a time when diversifying our economic vision has never been more important,” Davis said, “the National Center is focused on proactively facilitating new business opportunities and pushing the economic development envelope, for the betterment of many generations to come.”
For additional information on the NCAIED, visit: www.ncaied.org. The NCAIED is a nonprofit solely dedicated to developing American Indian economic self-sufficiency through business ownership for 45 years.