A new partnership aims to advance opportunities for Native American entrepreneurs

Brown Venture Group partners (from left) Chris Brooks, Jerome Hamilton, Chris Dykstra, and Paul Campbell.

Brown Venture Group LLC, a Black-owned venture capital firm formed to fund Black, Latinx, and Indigenous technology entrepreneurs, has launched a partnership with tribal governments nationwide to advance opportunities for American Indian entrepreneurs.

"While less than 3 percent of VC funds are going Black and LatinX startups, the number being invested in Indigenous entrepreneurial efforts is even smaller," said Paul Campbell, co-founder and managing partner of Brown Venture Group. "By joining forces, we have more power to change that and leverage the opportunities that exist for indigenous entrepreneurs as more and more companies and individuals are interested in investing in the BIPOC community.  Collectively, we need to develop those paths and articulate the procedures to make that happen."

The tribal governments partnering with Brown Venture Group include:

The goal of the partnership is to provide access to capital to indigenous entrepreneurs, offer education to both investors and entrepreneurs about the opportunities and pathways that exist for mutual success and the overall development of a meaningful, supportive ecosystem that builds a network for new entrepreneurs.

"For the past 50 years, tribes have relied on federal and other grants to support their business development efforts," said Keely Linton, President of Mesa Grande's Business Development Corporation. "The problem with that model is that it's not sustainable. When the grant money runs out, the business is finished. We are creating a new model with this partnership. It's an exciting opportunity to think differently about developing a sustainable pathway to success, especially for smaller tribes like ours."

According to Tahda Ahtone, Esq., Principal Attorney at Ahtone Law and business consultant for tribal governments, there is a tremendous opportunity to connect investors to entrepreneurs within the Native American community.

"Investors are missing out on innovative sustainable technology and business opportunities that have been informed by tribal culture and customs, that with an infusion of capital, have enormous potential," Ahtone said.

Brown Venture Group, along with members from the initial participating tribes, will be hosting a series of education workshops this fall with additional tribes around the country specifically to discuss equity financing opportunities that are available.  In addition, the group will be seeking participation from additional tribes and investors.

"The fact of the matter is we have been missing the I in BIPOC," Campbell said.  "Now is the time to develop meaningful and trusting relationships with Indigenous communities so we can begin co-creating the process of working with not for Indigenous communities everywhere. As corporations continue to focus on funding BIPOC initiatives, they need to include the Indigenous nations in the conversations. This partnership is the vehicle to help connect change-making corporations and equity partners with that I in BIPOC."

About Brown Venture Group

Launched in 2018, Brown Venture Group, LLC, is a venture capital firm exclusively for Black, Latinx and Indigenous technology startups. Brown Venture Group is writing a new playbook for both those interested in launching a minority-owned technology startup and those interested in investing in new technologies. For more information go to brownventuregroup.com.

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