Native CDFI’s Economic Development & Procurement Conference Underway in Montana  

 A powerhouse economic development and procurement conference is underway in Billings, Montana, led by a Native Community Development Financial Institution. The three-day event hosted by the Native American Development Corporation (NADC), July 30-August 1, highlights five tracks: entrepreneurship, procurement, economic development, community development and healthcare.

“Our mission here is with the conference is to bring all of those resources to the table so people don’t have to go to different places,” NADC Business Manager Cora Chandler told KULR-8. “They can actually find all those resources here at the conference. We want to offer everything we can to not just our urban communities but to the reservations and to the non-Native Americans that are in the communities so they can come and have business transactions, and see what we’re doing in Indian Country and the resources we as business folks have to offer.”

Tonight at the NADC’s 11th Annual Economic Development, Procurement & Healthcare Conference, a fashion show will serve as the entertaining backdrop for a business networking event. The runway will feature creations by Native American labels: Red Berry Woman, Designs by Della and ACONAV.

Yesterday, the NADC and the Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) hosted a matchmaking session, followed by a Community Career and Job Fair. 

“The PTAC day kicked off with a training session geared toward contractors, helping them prepare their elevator pitches for one-on-one meetings with government contractors. The matchmaking event is kind of like speed dating for contractors and government contractors,” Chandler told Native Nation TV.

Hosted at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center, the 2019 conference theme focuses on being proactive, sharing resources, celebrating successes, discovering opportunity, inspiring innovative solutions, and sustainability strategies. A cast of keynote speakers range from Casey Lozar, who joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis as assistant vice president and outreach executive in October, to BIA Transportation Specialist / Tourism Coordinator Edward Hall to Janie Simms Hipp, CEO at Native American Agriculture Fund. 

NADC, a certified Native Community Development Financial Institution, was established in 1996 by Tribal enterprise business managers in Montana and Wyoming in collaboration with the Montana Indian Manufacturers Network Board of Directors. As a hub for American Indian businesses, NADC provides technical assistance in the creation and operation of reservation-based Community Development Corporations, empowering communities toward economic and social stability.

In 1997, NADC established a revolving loan fund for small Native-owned businesses in partnership with the Economic Development Administration. Since that time, NADC has loaned over $1 million to Native-owned businesses.