Providing targeted support to Indigenous entrepreneurs in Arizona. Designed to drive economic development in the state’s 22 federally recognized tribes
Components of the Native FORGE Program
Tribal entrepreneurs utilize the FORGE Venturing 101 Platform, an asynchronous online curriculum on core venture concepts including Getting Started with a Venture, Problems, & Solutions, Customer Development, Failure & Resilience, Business Modeling, Communicating Your Idea, Building Your Team, Financial Literacy, Intellectual Property and Business Formation.
Mentors serve as guides, sounding boards, and sources of inspiration, to help entrepreneurs reach their goals. FORGE
provides a diverse network of Mentors in Residence. Entrepreneurs are paired with mentors for one-on-one guidance in
developing and refining their business goals.
Annual Native FORGE Conference
Tribal entrepreneurs, tribal leadership and
other representatives gather annually for
a dedicated conference providing access
to industry experts, resources and
introductions to investors.
Technology Supplies and Assistance
Through the grant, entrepreneurs receive
laptops, wi-fi hotspots and assistance with
accessing and utilizing technologies that
can help grow their business.
2022 Native FORGE Entrepreneurs
Through mentorship, data training, development and assessment, the Native Forge Program takes aim at the specific needs of Native entrepreneurs and is made possible by a matching grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
For the 2022 Cohort, the program is working in partnership with San Carlos Apache Tribe and has identified 5 entrepreneurs from the community to directly work under the Native Forge program.
We are looking forward to small business growth, and for them to get the knowledge base of how to run a business, how to select a structure, how to properly execute a business plan, how to utilize local resources and use them to their advantage, to have the knowledge to become better business owners.
In small business, the first five years are really crucial. ... Us being in a rural area, it is even tougher.
- Kodee Goseyun, San Carlos Apache Tribe Economic Development specialist
Business Owner: Alice Juan
A convenience store, gas station, laundromat, and Wikkiup Village. The Village serves as a multipurpose site for events, a farmer's market, and a tourist rest stop. Her goal is to increase business for the location and increase healthier food options for the local community.
Business Owner: Davison “Beejay” Ward Jr.
Custom handcrafted quilts uniquely designed and made with his traditional and artistic touch. Beejay's goal is to promote his products in the open market and secure enough funding to get local community members involved in his business to meet
Business Owner: Tristan Sneezy
Provides landscape and basic maintenance services to tribal departments. He is working on securing a bond/insurance to be able to participate as a vendor for the San Carlos Apache Tribe and other government entities. His goal is to raise funds to secure the bond.
Business Owner: Davida Olivar
Events management company offering supplies and equipment needed for events. Her goal is to expand her business by offering self- serve options to customers by strategically placing mini-storage structures on the reservation and nearby town of Globe.
Business Owner: Rachelyn Kenton
Convenience store and fast food cafe located in the heart of the San Carlos Apache Tribe serving the Peridot and San Carlos
Community. Her goal is to expand the cafe to include a sitting area for citizens and visitors and redesign the layout of the store to build capacity for more products to be offered.
Native FORGE Conference
Native FORGE hosts a yearly conference every November in Tucson, AZ to bring together representatives of tribal communities, indigenous entrepreneurs, industry experts, investors and mentors for workshops on entrepreneurship, networking and capital connections.