Largest economic development gathering in Indian Country concluded one week ago
March 15, 2018
MESA, AZ – The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (the National Center) recently concluded a successful Reservation Economic Summit (RES). RES 2018, which took place last week at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, had over 2,000 attendees from across Indian Country, corporate America, and the federal government who came to the event to share their expertise, network, and create new business opportunities. Next year, RES will take place from March 25 – 28, 2019 and move to Paris Las Vegas.
“RES 2018 was a tremendous success, and we thank everyone who participated and helped make it the place where Indian Country does business,” said Chris James, President and CEO of the National Center. “Business got done, connections were made, and the depth and breadth of the Indian Country economy was on display for all attendees to see. For us at the National Center, RES is not an end, but rather the catalyst for the work we do throughout the year to advance economic development in Native American and Alaska Native communities. We look forward to continuing our work in 2018 and beyond.”
Highlights of the four-day conference include:
- The RES scholarship golf tournament at the Las Vegas Paiute Resort, which raised thousands for the National Center’s scholarship program.
- A revamped trade show, with exhibitors grouped by business area in order to boost foot traffic.
- Remarks from senior officials at major employers such as IBM, Lockheed Martin, MGM Resorts, Google, Northrop Grumman, Alaska Air, and many others, as well as Native Leaders such as Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, Idaho State Representative Paulette Jordan, and MHA Nation Chairman Mark Fox.
- The Indian Progress in Business (INPRO) gala to honor deserving individuals, tribes, and businesses that are making invaluable contributions to the Native American economy.
- Conference sessions that covered some of the most important business topics for the American Indian and Alaska Native economy, including energy, telecommunications, technology, contracting, gaming, and many others.
- The Buy Native Procurement Matchmaking Expo that paired qualified suppliers with procurement opportunities.
In addition, the National Center announced a $300,000 partnership with the KeyBank Foundation that will support the new National Center Procurement and Technical Assistance Program, or NCTAP, as well as the Native Edge Institute. NCTAP will expand the National Center’s procurement and technical services to new areas of the country, and will also focus on preparing businesses to win a variety of contracts. The Native Edge Institute will offer one-on-one counseling to businesses and entrepreneurs.
The National Center also announced that it would be revamping the Native Edge program – the online portal where you can find qualified employees and job openings, network, learn about potential RFPs, and access much of the material found at RES. As a part of this revamp, the National Center will add a lending component through the participation of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The Native Edge will also be made free to all users.
“This was our 32nd annual RES, and the 32nd time I’ve been a part of this incredible event,” said National Center Board Chairman Derrick Watchman. “Each RES offers something new that makes me excited about the future of the Native economy. That was certainly the case in 2018. From coast to coast, up to Alaska, and as far away as New Zealand, Native peoples are on the cutting edge of business. Those who took the time to participate in RES and share with and learn from others will no doubt create a strong and prosperous tomorrow for our communities.”
About The National Center: The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With over 40 years of assisting American Indian Tribes and their enterprises with business and economic development – we have evolved into the largest national Indian specific business organization in the nation. Our motto is: “We Mean Business For Indian Country” as we are actively engaged in helping Tribal Nations and Native business people realize their business goals and are dedicated to putting the whole of Indian Country to work to better the lives of American Indian people- both now… and for generations to come.