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First-ever Great Lakes Tribal Economic Summit to be held in Grand Rapids

Great Lakes Tribal Economic Summit logo
Tribal Business News
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Great Lakes Tribal Economic Summit to be held in GR

The summit aims to bring together tribal leaders, Native business executives and Indigenous entrepreneurs from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, as well as representatives from state and federal agencies that work with tribes on economic development projects and initiatives.

Tribal leaders from across the Midwest are heading to Grand Rapids next week for the region’s Great Lake’s Tribal Economic Summit. The event is the first-ever economic conference for tribes and tribal citizens in this region.

The day-long event on October 6th will be held at Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business and is a partnership between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Tribal Business News, GVSU and Michigan-based publication, MiBiz. The summit is also supported by sponsors including Fifth Third Bank, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little River Holdings LLC, and Native-owned law firm Rosette, LLP.

Here in Michigan, federally recognized Indian tribes provide more than $288 million to the state economy, according to a 2019 study by the MEDC. Taking a wider look, Tribal Business News reports, the nation's tribal economy amasses $130 billion.

Organizers explain, the upcoming summit is a needed space for tribal leaders, native business executives and indigenous entrepreneurs across the Midwest to network and discuss current economic plans, as well as professional development.

"Tribal Business News is excited to bring together tribes, state and federal officials, and non-Native business leaders in an effort to spur the tribal economy in the Great Lakes region,” said Publisher Levi Rickert with Tribal Business News. “Tribes are a powerful force in Michigan and elsewhere in the region. The timing for the summit is right as tribes navigate beyond the pandemic to a brighter future.”

The event will welcome attendees from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. It will highlight current business and economic development projects that the region’s tribes are working on in 2022, as well as panel discussions and speakers talking about strategy, innovation, concrete examples of “what’s working” in Indian Country, and how to work with Tribes, tribal enterprises, Native businesses and Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Some of the day's sessions will focus on access to capital in Indian Country, opportunities in tourism for tribes, and how COVID-19 has reshaped tribal economic development. The summit also plans to include in-person presentations by several senior-level federal officials responsible for working with tribes and Native-owned businesses, including Native American executives from the Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy and Department of Transportation. They will offer details about federal programs as well as specifics on how Tribes and Native businesses can access them.

For more information on the Great Lakes Tribal Economic Summit, click here.

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