This November, join us in celebrating Native American Heritage Month! This is a time to commemorate Indigenous peoples’ rich history, culture, and traditions while paying tribute to their essential contributions to society. We at the Orange County/Inland Empire Small Business Development Center are committed to providing resources and opportunities to drive the success of small businesses. That is why this month, we are excited to highlight Native-owned businesses, provide local resources, and share tips on how to support your local businesses.
A Brief History of American Indian Heritage Month
In 1916, New York initiated American Indian Day to observe the achievements and culture of Native American people. Congress passed a request to recognize November 23-30 as American Indian Week in 1986. Four years later, in 1990, President George H. W. Bush (pictured on the left) designated the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Taking time this November to recognize and appreciate the vast contributions of Native people guides us one step closer to bringing more visibility to historically marginalized communities.
Growing Prevalence of Native People and Businesses
There are over 7.1 million American Indians in the United States, and this number is projected to grow by over 40% in the next 40 years. The growing Native American population means that Native-owned businesses are also on the rise. Currently, there are about 26,064 Native-owned businesses in the United States, making a substantial impact in the small business sector. It is vital that we, as a small business community, come together to elevate our awareness of and support Native-owned businesses as they continue growing.
This year, we invite you to explore the heritage, culture, and experiences of Indigenous peoples both historically and in America today, and to show your support.
4 Ways You Can Show Support
Listen: Spend time listening to stories and experiences of Native American people to better understand their history and traditions. Taking time to listen to the backgrounds of others can help form stronger connections. For you as small business owners, building connections is crucial for sharing authentic experiences and expanding your customer base.
Support Native-Owned Businesses: The Holidays are right around the corner! As the season of giving approaches, consider shopping from Native-owned businesses. What better way to show support than directly as a consumer?
Use Your Social Media Platform: November is Native American Heritage Month, which means you will likely see more online activity this month highlighting Native history and contributions. Sharing or re-posting Native resources or local businesses is a great way to spread engagement across platforms. Follow and engage with Native-owned businesses on your social media pages to help boost their online presence.
Connect: Small business owners willing to connect with other small business owners can create mutually beneficial relationships. There may be opportunities where you and your new connection can help attract visitors to both businesses. Make an effort to connect with Native-owned businesses within your community and team up to make a significant impact together.
Native-Owned Businesses to Support in Orange County and the Inland Empire:
Children’s clothing with a global flare
Artisan-crafted garments, textiles, and adornments
Single-serve coffee and tea paper pods
Luna y Sol Healing
Crystal jewelry and organic creams, salves, and body butters tailored to support wellness
Native American Resources:
Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA)
- ONAA’s mission is to ensure that American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians seeking to create, develop and expand small businesses have full access to the necessary business development and expansion tools available through the Agency’s entrepreneurial development, lending, and procurement programs.
SBA Native American Owned Business Guide
- The federal government provides Native American small business owners various opportunities in the realm of contracting, business development, and other programs.
- Sister Sky provides empowerment resources for both new and established Native entrepreneurs as well as non-Native business organizations that serve or partner with Native individuals and communities.
- RedWind Group has partnered with the Small Business Administration’s Office of Native American Affairs to provide business development workshops for Native American entrepreneurs.
- Accion Opportunity Fund is a small business financial support system with a detailed list of various resources and government programs available for minority-owned businesses, specifically Native American entrepreneurs.
Orange County/Inland Empire Small Business Development Center
- The OCIE SBDC offers no-cost business consulting services and training for small businesses located in the Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Our Network of more than 100 staff and consultants spans across generations, regions, and backgrounds speaking over 40 languages.
- Visit our Minority-Owned Business page for a list of business resources made specifically for Native Entrepreneurs. To view all our resources, visit our Resource page.
Looking to start or grow your business? Here at the Orange County/Inland Empire SBDC, we’re here to help you with every aspect of your business to help it grow and become successful. Give us a call at 1-800-616-7232 or schedule a quick, 15-minute intake appointment at ociesbdc.org/consultation to see how we can help you start, grow, and succeed.