Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez provides the welcome address for the Diné Entrepreneur Series at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz. on May 20, 2019.
Published May 21, 2019
WINDOW ROCK — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez offered words of support and encouragement at the opening of the three-day Diné Entrepreneur Series on Monday at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz., which is hosted by the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development to offer workshops for current and aspiring Navajo business owners to learn about business development, customer service, marketing, human resources, business registration, regulation, and more.
President Nez thanked Division of Economic Development Executive Director JT Willie and his staff for initiating the entrepreneur series to create a forum for dialogue on how the Nation can eliminate “red tape” and minimize the bureaucracy of starting and maintaining a private business on the Navajo Nation.
“We need to change the trend. Navajo government is always creating businesses, but now it’s time to help all of you that want to create businesses by getting rid of the red tape and shortening the process of obtaining a business lease and other requirements,” stated President Nez. “We have so many of our people who expend their own resources trying to start a business – that needs to change for the better.”
He noted that the Nez-Lizer Administration is helping to promote Navajo-owned businesses in the review of business contracts that are brought to the Office of the President and Vice President for consideration and final approval.
“We are kicking back contracts for further review if we know there is a Navajo business out there that can do the work. We’re prioritizing Navajo-owned businesses when it comes to contractual services with the Nation because we want our people to succeed,” President Nez said.
President Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer continue to promote “Buy Navajo, Buy Local” among the general public, by encouraging Navajo people to shop locally rather than traveling to border towns for goods and services.
“Some might think it’s a racist comment when I say ‘don’t buy in Gallup or Farmington,’ but I’m saying it because we’re a sovereign Nation and we need to help our own people,” he added.
President Nez also highlighted some of the recent successes of shopping centers in the communities of Shonto, Dennehotso, Burnside, Nahata Dziil, and others.
“According to a recent study, since opening in May 2017 over 50-percent of the customers at the Shonto Marketplace are non-Navajos. It’s an example of how our Nation is receiving major returns on our investments and helping our communities with jobs, tax revenues, and through the availability of goods and services,” President Nez said,
President Nez also encourages business owners and entrepreneurs to take advantage of funding offered through the Nation’s Business and Industrial Development Fund program under the Division of Economic Development, or through the Navajo CDFI, which also provides assistance and benefits for individual business owners.
The Diné Entrepreneur Series offers workshops, presentations, and panels, that will provide entrepreneurs with information from the Division of Economic Development, Navajo business incubators, financing organizations, and more. Those who are interested in attending the three-day event can register in-person at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Ariz. from May 20 to May 22. If you have any questions, please call the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development at (928) 871-6544.