The First Year of the Dreamstarter® Incubator Microenterprise Development Program has been Amazing!
The Dreamstarter Incubator Microenterprise Development program has completed its first year, and it has been nothing short of amazing. This program, designed to support the dreams of Native youth for the long-term, has been successful in providing the necessary mentorship, financial assistance, and logistical support to launch and run small Native businesses. Under the leadership of 2019 Running Strong Dreamstarter Josh Smith, four small Native businesses in Oklahoma were supported with no-interest loans of $5,000, and the business owners participated in business development workshops throughout the year. Looking ahead, the program is expanding its reach by partnering with the Oyate Ta Kola Ku (OTKK) Community Center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to offer loans to five additional Native businesses. Let’s explore the remarkable achievements and impact of the Dreamstarter Incubator Microenterprise Development program in its first year.
The First Year of the Dreamstarter® Incubator Microenterprise Development Program
The Dreamstarter Incubator Microenterprise Development program was initiated as one of the first Dreamstarter Incubator grants provided by Running Strong. Its primary objective is to continue supporting the dreams of Native youth beyond Dreamstarter cash grants. By collaborating with past Dreamstarters, Running Strong develops and operates new Running Strong programs inspired by their dreams. The program empowers Dreamstarters to bring their vision, passion, and commitment to improving the lives of tribal communities across the nation. Running Strong, on the other hand, provides the necessary network, mentorship, and support to help these new programs thrive, with Dreamstarters leading the way.
Success Stories from the First Year
Under the leadership of 2019 Running Strong Dreamstarter Josh Smith, the Microenterprise Development Program achieved remarkable success in its first year. Four small Native businesses in Oklahoma received much-needed support through small no-interest loans of $5,000. These loans provided the necessary financial boost for these businesses to grow and flourish. Moreover, the business owners had the opportunity to participate in business development workshops throughout the year, gaining valuable insights, tools, and guidance to take their dreams to the next level.
Expanding the Program
Building on the success of the first year, the Dreamstarter Incubator Microenterprise Development program is expanding its reach. In the upcoming year, the program will collaborate with the Oyate Ta Kola Ku (OTKK) Community Center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to offer the same no-interest loans to five Native businesses on the reservation. This expansion demonstrates the commitment of Running Strong and its partners to empower Native entrepreneurs and support economic growth in tribal communities.
The Impact of Business Plan Workshops
As part of the program, Josh Smith has already hosted a business plan workshop at the OTKK Community Center. This workshop was open to both existing small business owners and individuals with great ideas for new businesses. By attending the free workshop, participants gained valuable tools, guidance, and inspiration to turn their dreams into reality. The business plan workshop served as a platform to foster entrepreneurship, encourage innovation, and provide a supportive community for Native entrepreneurs.