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Creatives Indigenous Course concludes with deep dive pitch event in MT

Indigenous Entrepreneurial Cohort present their business ideas to the community at a live event open to the public

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News from Native Max

PABLO — Creatives Indigenous by Native Max announced a free event at the Salish Kootenai College Theatre where a cohort of Salish and Kootenai artrepreneurs pitch their business plans to faculty, partners, and the local community. 

Since the beginning of June, this cohort of Native entrepreneurs has participated in a rigorous accelerator program to explore the business side of the creative industries through course work and weekly virtual meetings. Courses included business opportunity analysis, business model development, leadership and team building, networking and brand marketing, to name a few. Throughout the six week program, participants were given the opportunity to work and connect with world-class Native business mentors, collaborate with a cohort of like-minded Native creatives, and engage in an intensive, hands-on course to learn the building blocks of entrepreneurship. With a high-quality curriculum developed in partnership with Creative Startups, these entrepreneurs are finally at the finish line of the program and pitched their business ideas in front of the community on July 22.

“What makes our programs unique is how we incorporate and integrate Indigenous knowledge and values into the curriculum,” says Holmes, a decades-long experienced Native woman business leader. Creatives Indigenous courses are designed to promote Native creativity and disrupt the creative economy with authentic Native business ideas and artistry.

“I’m beyond proud of the participants of the Montana cohort and their business ideas,” Holmes says. “They want to either start or grow their businesses while also impacting the local community both economically and positively. It was an exciting six weeks of learning the components of building and running a business and creating a community,” commented Kelly Holmes, CEO and Founder of Native Max.

“I’m so proud of the students who committed time each week to the Indigenous Creatives course—this investment will benefit them in many ways. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive in Indian people and this course helped actualize it. I look forward to new ventures and growth for our native artists throughout Montana,” stated Velda Shelby, CSKT Director of Economic Development.

The in-person business presentations and pitch contest were held at the Salish Kootenai College (SKC) campus within the Johnny Arlee & Vic Charlo Theatre on Saturday, June 22. Best pitch winners will be awarded prizes provided by Salish Kootenai Business Services. 

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