GROW Nebraska and partners Lakota Hope Ministry and Nebraska Extension recently launched GROWNebraskaNative.org to support new and existing Native-owned businesses on and off the Pine Ridge Reservation. The goal is to restore human dignity and cultural pride through economic development.
“We have already sold several pieces to consumers in New York. If we can increase the market reach and receive a higher price than what the Native artist would receive locally – it is a win for everyone,” stated Heidi High, GROW Nebraska coordinator of special projects.
The idea is simple and powerful – to get area entrepreneurs to network and help each other become an organization recognized nationally for its marketing of Native American Art and crafts and use the same principal of networking and training to develop the secondary businesses that come with economic development.
GROW Nebraska and partners are delivering bi-weekly business training sessions and are assisting program participants in every aspect of marketing, from purchasing raw materials to selling the finished products both locally and globally. Key objectives in this innovative, entrepreneur-focused program include entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur networking, focused training and assisted marketing through GROW Nebraska retail and Internet outlets.
The program’s goal is to create a group of entrepreneurs who work together and support each other as they build scalable small businesses that will generate a livable income for the business owners and their family, create jobs and have a positive impact on reservation residents. Currently, works from 25 Native artists are feature on GROWNebraskaNative.org.
“What makes this website so important is that the people will now have a direct connection to the authentic, creative source of what they’re purchasing. It is very important to know and understand the artist behind the work. There will now be a face and a name behind their work, not just a generic idea of Native American product,” stated Bruce BonFluer, director of Lakota Hope. “Consumers will be able to see their faces, hear their voices, and understand the significance and individuality behind their designs and concepts.”
More artwork and products along with success stories are to come, so keep checking out GROWNebraskaNative.org on a regular basis.
This project is made possible by funding from the SBA NAMEBS grant and USDA Rural Development. To find out more about the GROW Nebraska Native project call GROW Nebraska at 308-962-6767, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
About GROW Nebraska:
GROW Nebraska is a not-for-profit organization based in rural Nebraska. Serving over 400 Nebraska small businesses, the organization provides market access, education and training to launch and connect Nebraska businesses to the global marketplace. GROW Nebraska's educational programs receive federal and state funding, along with generous support from foundations and individual donors. For more information, please visit www.grownebraska.org.