Current Projects

Native Youth Business Plan Competition – 2021

The Native Youth Business Plan Competition provides opportunities for Native youth to develop skills, cultivate new ideas, and connect with Native leaders for support in turning those ideas into businesses.

The 2021 event built on the success of the 2020 Native Youth Business Plan Competition and was a collaboration among First Nations, American Indigenous Business Leaders, and The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED).

Finalists Competed July 19, 2021, in Las Vegas!

Again in 2021, teams of youth participants submitted business plans to compete in three divisions — high school, college/university, and tribal college. Finalists then were selected to present their concepts in the onstage competition July 19, 2021, at the joint AIBL and RES 2021 Conferences in Las Vegas, Nevada.

First Nations was honored to have assisted in sponsoring travel stipends and prize awards for participating teams. All finalists took advantage of RES 2021 workshops and business development sessions and received additional mentorship on their plans and presentations. Then, a team of four judges, including First Nations’ Board Chair Benny Shendo (Jemez Pueblo), evaluated each presentation and awarded final prizes of:

  • 1st place – $2,500
  • 2nd place – $1,250
  • 3rd place – $750
The 2021 first-place winners from each division were:
  • High School: Sovereign Schools (Fresh Fix Restaurant)
  • College: Navajo Technical University (Early Dawn Coffee)
  • University: University of New Mexico (Maize the Experience)

About the Competition

The Native Youth Business Plan Competition was designed to help Native students increase their knowledge and enhance their business, entrepreneurial, and academic skills to prepare them for business and entrepreneurship opportunities in the future.

The competition provides an educational experience for students by learning the process of creating and presenting a business plan. It also simulates the real-world experience of entrepreneurs seeking start-up funds.

The competition is ideal for Native students who:

  • Have a passion to create positive change within their local native communities
  • Have started a business or have an idea to ​start a business
  • Are interesting in enhancing their ​conceptual, organizational, written and oral presentation skills
  • Wish to demonstrate their ability to ​clearly communicate an idea to a group of experts and peers

 Questions about the competition?

Contact Kendall Tallmadge, Senior Program Officer, at (303) 774-7836 or ktallmadge@firstnations.org.

Impact Story from the 2021 Competition

For Victor Corpuz (Laguna), presenting a business plan before a gathering of Native business leaders and entrepreneurs provided not only a skills-building exercise, but an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the ingenuity of Native people. This article recaps Victor’s experience and showcases this inspiring event.

Read the story here