Native FORGE is modeled on the proven concept of Arizona FORGE (Finding Opportunities and Resources to Grow Entrepreneurs). FORGE is a unique entrepreneurial community that combines startup acceleration alongside experiential student and community education. FORGE student and community programs provide entrepreneurial education, mentoring, coaching, exposure to the venturing process, and readiness assessment tools. FORGE Communities maintains an entrepreneurial resource hub in downtown Tucson, Arizona, and locations throughout the state. FORGE programs for early-stage ventures provide mentorship, business development, and custom feedback at community locations. Advanced resident startup teams meet regularly with experienced mentors to create custom development plans and develop guided pathways to accelerate scale-up and launch.
Native FORGE, through its Mentors in Residence, will provide technical assistance to the 22 Native Nations of Arizona and their community members. It should be noted that many Tribal Communities are seeking to strengthen their local economies through small businesses and community entrepreneurs.
TRIBAL DATA TRAINING, DEVELOPMENT AND ASSESMENT PROGRAM
A second major initiative under Native FORGE is the Tribal Data Training, Development, and Assessment Program. To enhance Arizona’s Native Nations’ economic climates, better access to and analysis of data, and on-site technical assistance will serve as the platform to address tribes’ express requests for university-based technical assistance in assisting with building tribal data infrastructure and capacity.
Native FORGE will
- Provide technical assistance to Arizona Tribal Nations by conducting research and providing data for tribal use in workforce assessment, business forecasting, economic and community planning, and funding development. Data provided will be sourced from the U.S. Census, ESUR Community Analysis/GIS, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other data sources.
- Provide technical assistance and training for Arizona Tribal Nations in survey construction, survey administration, data security, and survey data analysis that Tribal Nations may collect, analyze, and secure their own local data.
- Develop and launch the University of Arizona Native FORGE web portal to support all training and resources developed including public data assessment specific to Arizona Tribal Nations.
The University of Arizona’s EDA University Center, Native FORGE, is led by Arizona FORGE at its flagship location, FORGE at Roy Place - a connectivity resource hub for entrepreneurship. The center features workspaces, 360° video conferencing, flexible classrooms, presentation spaces, collaboration rooms for mentoring, and event spaces. FORGE at Roy Place houses programs, and facilities, that connect entrepreneurs, students, and community members to build engagement and learning.