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Creatives Indigenous course to jumpstart Indian businesses in Montana

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News from the CSKT

PABLO — Creatives Indigenous by Native Max announces a six-week business accelerator program for Salish and Kootenai artists and creatives who want to start a business or expand their businesses. 

The accelerator program offers Native entrepreneurs a rigorous exploration and application of topics, including business opportunity analysis, business model development, leadership and team building, managing cash flow, and more. The program gives participants the resources to take on a journey of learning the building blocks of entrepreneurship, from the starting line to start-up status, with a high-quality curriculum developed in partnership with Creative Startups. What makes the program different is it’s centered on Indigenous values, informed by Native Max founder and lead faculty Kelly Holmes’ decades-long experience as a Native woman leading a media and fashion business.

“I’m excited to work with our partners on this program,” explained Holmes. “We set out to teach Native creative entrepreneurs and help them discover the confidence, knowledge, and resources to gain revenues, grow their financial success, and eventually create more jobs for their communities.”

James Bible from Salish and Kootenai Business Services explained, “SKBS is very excited to work with our partners on this program. Entrepreneurship and small businesses are significant because they create employment, drive innovation, contribute to community development, provide economic stability, and foster diversity. The success of these companies is essential to the well-being of individuals and communities, as they play a crucial role in influencing the economy and society.”

The Kick-Off event will be held at the Salish Kootenai College (SKC) campus on June 3 and then virtual core modules will be taught online. The program culminates with in-person business presentations and a pitch contest on July 22 at SKC. Creatives Indigenous courses are designed to promote Native creativity and disrupt the creative industry with authentic Native art. “What makes our programs unique is how we incorporate and integrate Indigenous knowledge and values into the curriculum,” said Holmes.

The course is limited to 30 students. CSKT Native makers, artists, innovators, and other creatives are encouraged to register at Registration is now open with a $60 fee. Registration closes on May 29. If you cannot afford this fee upon acceptance into the program, organizers may waive it after completion of the program. CSKT tribal members have priority placement, and any remaining seats will be given to other Tribal artists.

Please visit the website and use the QR code for registration and a complete schedule of training modules. This core curriculum aims to integrate Native-centric education and experience in the lessons to create an equitable course for Native students, which helps them gain an Indigenous perspective on business and entrepreneurship.

Creatives Indigenous is sponsored by the Native American Development Corporation (TRIIA Program), CSKT Economic Development Office, Salish Kootenai Business Services, and the Salish and Kootenai College. For more information or registration support, please contact Creatives Indigenous Program Support Brenna Ortiz at or James Bible, Salish, and Kootenai Business Services at

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