Tribe Taps Innovation Capital to Expand & Diversify Business Opportunities

To expand its footprint with commercial gaming operations in various states, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) has entered into a contract with Innovation Capital, LLC. The boutique investment bank will help the Band diversify its business opportunities — both in gaming and non-gaming industries.

The EBCI also operates the non-gaming economic development arm Kituwah, LLC, “but those opportunities do not present the type of revenue that gaming can produce,” Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed told Cherokee One Feather.

Kituwah, the Tribe’s economic development organization, focuses on property development, entertainment and hospitality, professional services, and entrepreneurs and partnerships. Back in September 2019, Kituwah CEO Mark Hubble told Native Business the company was growing at a 300 percent revenue rate. “We are closing on various properties at a fast pace,” he said in fall 2019 — pre-COVID. 

READ MORE: The Economic Driver: Mark Hubble, CEO of Kituwah, LLC 

The Tribal Council passed Res. No. 213 on July 9th to grant Tribal engagement with Innovation Capital, which has brokered over $9 billion in deals. Sneed, who submitted the legislation, said the agreement will empower Innovation Capital to act as the Band’s advisors and agents on potential deals in commercial gaming. 

The investment firm has previously partnered with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Choctaw Nation, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Seneca Nation, and the Mescalero Apache Tribe. Sneed noted: “Probably the most notable that we’re familiar with is the Poarch Band of Creek with their acquisition of Bethlehem Sands in Pennsylvania and acquisition of two properties in the Caribbean and Aruba that are casino resorts. They’ve got an excellent track record, and we, by proxy, have already been engaged with Innovation Capital through Caesar’s in the past.”  

READ MORE: Alabama-Based Poarch Band’s $1.3B Purchase of Pennsylvania Casino Approved

Stephanie A. Bryan, Poarch Band Tribal Chair & CEO, Is Improving Quality of Life Through the Family Business 

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