In July of 2008 IEI made the decision to create a separate department dedicated to helping tribal entrepreneurs. The newly named Ta-Qwo-Ma Business Center is dedicated to helping tribal/community members to open their own businesses and to help existing businesses owned by tribal or community members to grow. The Center opened its offices in July 2009, and hired a part-time business center coordinator and receptionist.
We have created strong partnerships with organizations such as Enterprise for Equity, a micro-enterprise assistance program in Thurston County. Enterprise for Equity with help from The Center received a USDA grant to continue offering business classes for Squaxin, Nisqually and Skokomish.
We have also continued to received expertise and assistance from organizations such as ONABEN, an organization in Portland dedicated to helping tribal entrepreneurs. The Center hosted a Train-the-Trainer event for ONABEN’s Indianprenuership curriculum that was attended by tribal people from across the country.
Oweesta, an organization that has helped tribes create loan funds, continues to assist us in organizational development, along with ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia.
The Center is also working with Squaxin’s Planning Department to create a master plan related to Squaxin’s small business economy.
If you are interested in this program or have a business idea, please contact: