Native Women Lead Releases Report on American Indian Women in Business

Native Women Lead founders

Published September 13, 2018

Key Findings Shape Plans for Second Annual Native Women’s Business Summit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Five months following the inaugural Native Women’s Business Summit – the largest gathering of Native American female entrepreneurs in history – the Native Women Lead organization announced its next move in elevating American Indian women in business with the release of a new report. The 2018 Native Women Lead Report presents a consolidation of data reinforcing the need for continued support to American Indian women entrepreneurs.

“Far too often, the voices of Native American women are left at the edges of already marginalized communities,” said Jaclyn M. Roessel of Native Women Lead. “Therefore, our goal was simple: to demonstrate that Native American women are community leaders, CEOs, mothers, wives, elders, and the critical drivers of Indigenous businesses that contribute $11 billion to the economy.”

The report, which pulls data from national research and insight from the 2018 Native Women’s Business Summit, spotlights the need to foster a culturally focused empowerment program for Native women business leaders. Key findings include:

  • In 2016, two-thirds of all American Indian and Alaska Native women in the U.S. were the primary breadwinners in their families.[1]
  • Native women are paid only 57 cents to every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.[2]
  • Since 1997, women-owned businesses grew by 114%, while Native women-owned businesses grew by 201%.[3]
  • 82% of the 200 attendees representing over 30 tribes at the Native Women’s Business Summit would like to be a mentor in the future.

The report comes on the heels of the first-ever Native Women’s Business Summit held at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM in April. Grounded on Native businesswomen issues and needs, the Summit catered to a variety of diverse careers, roles, experiences, and personal views.

Kim Gleason of Native Women Lead explained that the organization’s next step is to plan for the 2019 Native Women’s Business Summit – and ready the nation for another historic gathering of Indian Country’s best.

“We learned that 59% of Native women business leaders in attendance needed start-up or growth funding, and that 87% of them want technical assistance,” said Alicia Ortega. “Our planning for 2019 responds to that feedback. We are developing a mentor and leadership program, developing hands-on skills building, and creating a directory for more networking opportunities.”

Native Women Lead is accepting community and corporate donations to support the 2019 Women’s Business Summit. Supporters can make their tax-deductible donation here.

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