Our 29th Reservation Economic Summit (RES) was certainly one to remember, marked with new events, new partners, new topics, and most importantly: new and lasting business relationships. We will certainly use what we learned at National RES to grow and expand future RES events, and stay on the cutting edge of business development in Indian Country.
Perhaps the aspect of the conference that stood out to me most was our new events – and just how packed they were. We kicked off Monday with a Business Boot Camp, designed to give Indian entrepreneurs the training and information they need to launch or grow their business. The opening session also featured the Buy Native Procurement Expo, which was done in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Though we are just a few weeks removed from RES, we have already heard from attendees who were able to secure contracts as a result of the expo. Check out our success stories section for examples of how RES can help grow your business.
For the first time, we hosted an Interactive Access to Capital Fair, which gave RES attendees a chance to discuss their potential projects with major financial institutions such as Wells Fargo, PNC, Native American Bank, Key Bank, and others. And in what’s become a major topic in Indian Country, we hosted a panel on the recent Department of Justice Memorandum on growing marijuana on tribal lands – a topic that we will continue to discuss in the coming months. Indeed, the session attracted the attention of none other than CNBC.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the strong support we received from our federal partners. In addition to the SBA hosting the Matchmaking Expo, SBA Associate Administrator Javier Saade spoke at one of our lunch sessions. In addition, the Honorable Dot Harris, Director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, was also a keynote speaker, and representatives from DOE could be found on several panels at RES. Alejandra Castillo, Director of the Minority Business Development Agency at the Department of Commerce, was also a keynote speaker. We look forward to growing these relationships in the coming months.
As you can see, RES was once again a can’t-miss event for Indian Country. But unlike those folks who try to remain 29 forever, we’re actually looking forward to what’s in store in our 30th year. We hope you’ll join us next year in Las Vegas – this time at the Mirage. But in the meantime, we hope to see many of you from June 15-18 for RES D.C., the second time we’ve brought the power of RES to our nation’s capital.