Going into business is not easy for anyone, but assistance can offset disadvantages. Around three out of four businesses fail or quit after five years. Small business ownership is particularly difficult for people who have not had the benefit of a history of inclusion in mainstream society. It has been demonstrated that in all groups, people who are provided with assistance during the early stages of a business have a much higher chance of success. Such assistance has included: access to business knowledge, capital, mentoring and business networks. In order for business assistance strategies to be effective, they should be adapted to meet the needs of those they are designed to serve. These realities led visionary tribal business development leaders to create ONABEN - Our Native American Business Network.
ONABEN – Our Native American Business Network was founded in 1991 through the leadership and vision of four Oregon Tribes who wanted to empower aspiring entrepreneurs in their communities and to help grow a private business sector on their reservations. Today, with over 20 year’s experience providing products and services to Indian Country, ONABEN’s mission is to support Native individuals, economic development organizations and communities by increasing opportunities for sustainable economic growth through culturally relevant entrepreneurial training and organizational development. ONABEN accomplishes this mission by providing Native entrepreneurs, and the community-based economic development organizations that serve them, a broad range of accessible, culturally-specific business curricula, programs, technical assistance, assisted access to financing and positive business-to-business relationships. As an innovator in product development and leader in capacity building, ONABEN has established a strong presence in the Pacific Northwest, and by leveraging its resources and partnerships, has become a national leader in implementing innovative strategies to increase family assets and expand private economies in Native communities through small business development.
Always reflective of its primary audience, ONABEN has a unique understanding of the Native communities we serve and is sensitive to the diverse cultures, situations and peoples who encompass Native communities across the country. Through our trainings, the voice of aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners is heard and the need for continued business development training is clear. Local organizations often do not have staff capacity or internal knowledge to build training programs for aspiring and growing entrepreneurs. ONABEN uses its Indianpreneurship business model to not only provide direct services to entrepreneurs, but to increase the capacity of CDFIs and business development organizations by providing organizational development trainings and trainings associated with principles of Indianpreneurship. ONABEN bridges the gap between service provider and entrepreneur crucial to the stability and viability of organizations serving the Native business community. Without the skills and knowledge to develop a business idea, small businesses are less likely to succeed. Therefore, the need for technical assistance to help grow and establish private sector business in Native communities must be met.