The “Native Business Top 50 Entrepreneurs” list serves to elevate awareness of the innovation, professionalism, competence and tenacity demonstrated by Native entrepreneurs across Indian Country. Native Business is rolling out profiles of these 50 Native entrepreneurs online, in no particular hierarchy, to document and memorialize their innovation and self-determination. The inaugural class of the Native Business Top 50 Entrepreneurs recognizes leaders across 13 business sectors, demonstrating the diversity of industries where Natives are making an impact. Among the entrepreneurs recognized in our Consulting sector is Vanessa Roanhorse, Founder of Roanhorse Consulting, LLC.
Vanessa Roanhorse, Diné, is often described as a powerhouse, a visionary and a disruptor of the status quo. She’s also a fierce advocate for Native women entrepreneurs and business leaders.
On any given day, you may find Roanhorse, founder and CEO of Roanhorse Consulting, LLC, discussing ways to raise the voice of minority businesses and localize economic development with her client, the City of Albuquerque, where she also calls home. You may find her in Palo Alto, California, discussing the future of credit unions, fintech and people at the Institute for the Future. You may find her uplifting the messaging of client Nusenda Credit Union about topics such as data protection, rewriting the traditional lending model, and reimagining risk management. Or you may find her among a cohort of venerable women entrepreneurs, planning the next Native Women’s Business Summit.
After 15 years of working in the nonprofit sector in Chicago, Roanhorse returned to Albuquerque and launched her consulting business, Roanhorse Consulting, LLC, in 2016. The company encourages economic empowerment from within Native America, and is committed to growing more indigenous and underrepresented founders. “Together we will launch, grow and create solutions for our local challenges,” her website states.
“Together” is a key word for Roanhorse. A co-creator and collaborator at heart, Roanhorse approaches consulting “unheralded” communities, businesses, organizations and individuals in an empathic and less formulaic way. Her unique style helps clients achieve self-determination “through forging communities of practice, creating equity through entrepreneurship, and encouraging economic empowerment from within,” she says.