Running Strong for Native American Youth is proud to announce the exciting expansion of the Dreamstarter Program – Dreamstarter Incubator! The Dreamstarter Incubator is designed to continue supporting the dreams of Native youth for the long-term, outside of Dreamstarter cash grants. Running Strong works collaboratively with past Dreamstarters to develop and operate *NEW* impactful Running Strong programs inspired by their dreams. Dreamstarters bring their vision, passion, and commitment to improving the lives of tribal communities across the nation, and Running Strong provides the network, mentorship, and financial, technical, and logistical support to launch and run these new programs – with Dreamstarters at the helm. Together, Running Strong and Native youth are creating positive change in Native communities.
The first of the Incubator Grants has been awarded to Josh Smith (Osage Nation), 2019 Dreamstarter.
Running Strong and Josh Smith worked together to develop a new Running Strong Microenterprise Development program to support Native entrepreneurs in Oklahoma. With the goal of empowering entrepreneurship within tribal communities, this program offers zero-interest micro-loans of up to $5,000, practical business training, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Successful applicants will take part in empowering courses taught by successful entrepreneurs, banking industry experts, and brilliant marketers. Josh, an entrepreneur, and owner of Ekowah Coffee has an incredible passion for Native businesses and supporting Native entrepreneurs in his community.
The Microenterprise Development program is a unique opportunity to empower individuals, contribute to tribal economies, and strengthen tribal communities. This program reaches micro-business entrepreneurs in critical places of development and supports both the entrepreneurs and the local community.
Studies show that micro-businesses make a more significant contribution to reducing poverty in rural communities than larger businesses. Micro-businesses contribute to the local economy by generating income, and they uniquely develop a community’s sense of place and personality. The Center for Rural Affairs found that more than half of all rural small businesses give charitable, with more than 90% of those contributions going to local programs and causes.
More information on how to apply can be found on our website