In February, the National Center hosted its first two East Coast Native Edge Institutes in Orlando, Florida and Cherokee, North Carolina. As the first East Coast NEIs, Orlando and Cherokee were excellent starting points for the beginning stages of the National Center’s expansion into the East Coast. In the coming weeks, the National Center will announce the details of two more East Coast NEIs that will take place later this year in New York and Maine. Stay tuned for updates and make sure to register (when open) for these informative and one-of-a-kind events!

Featuring speakers like Chief Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the National Center’s PTAC Manager George Williams, and Darren Masten, President and CEO of Clear Cloud Solutions, the recent East Coast NEIs offered valuable insights and advice regarding entrepreneurship, federal contracting, digital technology, and more to both established and aspiring Native-owned companies and entrepreneurs. Both NEI Orlando and NEI Cherokee began with opening remarks from the National Center’s President and CEO, Chris James – who is originally from Cherokee. Jason Lambert, who recently joined the National Center as a business development specialist based on the East Coast, was also in attendance at the events.

Sessions focused on small business contracting and set-aside programs, the struggles and success of entrepreneurship and diversity, the evolution of technology, updates on new rules, regulations, and programs affecting Native American and Alaska Native businesses and tribes. The NEIs ended with roundtable discussions with locally based mentors and expert speakers. NEI Orlando’s featured speaker was Suzanne Raheb, Corporate Regulatory Compliance and Supplier Diversity Leader at Lockheed Martin. Jack Lowery, a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, was Keynote Speaker for NEI Cherokee.

“Our first East Coast NEIs laid the foundation for future success,” said James. “It was great to be home for a few days and be able to expand the National Center’s services to a new part of the country. We look forward to continuing to host these great events across the country, including in the Northeast later this year.”

You can watch these events on the recording of our webinar.