The program is for applicants who already own a business or those with an idea for a business who need assistance in launching it.
If chosen, they can take advantage of the year-long program, a boot camp of sorts. They get their own professional business coach and all the advice they can absorb.
“NABIN provides all the guidance you need to launch, build and grow your business successfully at zero cost,” said Jessica Stago, program director.
During the program, businesspeople learn to study and understand their market; set up financial systems; determine their customers and how to reach them; establish a social media presence; develop a website; create branding; and learn how to find funding.
“The program has been up and running for about five years now and we really started growing last year,” she said.
The present cohort that started in June is the third.
“We take cohorts from five businesses who go through the program as a group,” she explained.
During the first quarter, they develop a business model, learn who their customers are and assess themselves to determine if they have what it takes to launch a business.
The next three months, they explore marketing, develop a brand image and company image and learn about social media.
The third and fourth quarters focus on financial management, accounting and bookkeeping, whether they want hire or run the business themselves and other operational issues like insurance, bank accounts, sales targets and the like.
“The economy around Native American communities in Northern Arizona is changing fast,” Stago said. “This means new opportunities to start businesses for anyone who is willing to be creative and work hard. NABIN is here to help entrepreneurs jump over obstacles and into the marketplace.”
The program and the coaching are free.
Paul Meehan said NABIN helped him and his wife, Baya, solidify their idea for a business and helped move them in the forward direction. They own Shash Dine Eco-Retreat Bed and Breakfast near Page, which he described as a “glamping” experience.
“NABIN helped us believe we weren’t crazy and that we had a great idea,” he said. “They helped us contact the proper agencies and gave us moral support.”
The program helped them identify their customers, who are visitors who want to explore the land around Page.
“Those who want to immerse themselves in that come to us,” he said.
Before the program, they said their efforts were scattered. During the class, they learned to design logos, establish a website and nail down their image.
“NABIN is truly the Native American small business administration,” he said.
Applicants for the program must be Native American and live in the Four Corners region.
To learn more, call 602-206-2029. FBN
By Patty McCormac, FBN