Buy Native Program
MNIBA wants to begin the conversation of “Buying Native First” in framing the long-term impact and contribution Native trade and commerce has on Tribal economic multipliers.
Native Nations are facing a wide range of challenges as they seek to secure the future for their members, communities, and future generations. In seeking to create sustainable communities economically, socially, and politically, Native Nations need to be poised to develop ways to circulate financial resources as frequently as possible within their communities, rather than see the money used at other businesses outside the community.
Native Trade and Exchange Contributes to a Strong and Diversified Native Economy
In many Native communities, earnings by community members are not captured and re-circulated and are typically spent outside the Nation's boundaries. Native communities are much more likely to experience high levels of leakage. This is because, many of the goods and services its citizens need not available locally and therefore, people must travel great distances outside of their communities to make these purchases.
Diversifying, supporting and creating healthy local economies slows the leakage that currently exists. Native communities have many options to consider when they explore new opportunities such as establishing Nation-owned enterprises, or attracting outside corporations, to establishing social enterprises and/or Native-led nonprofits. Another option is to invest in and foster the development of citizen-entrepreneurs and artists or encourage the development of co-operatives that both function in the marketplace to serve their members’ needs and work together with clear lines of accountability. Each type of economic activity has its place in a strong economy, with no single type of activity able to meet all of the economic challenges on its own.
Why Buy Native - Why Buy Local First?
Some leaders are revitalizing their communities by diversifying their local economies.
This is where “Buy Native - Buy Local First” plays a significant role in contributing to the health and vitality of a Native Nation's economic landscape. Native citizens engaged in trade in commerce contribute to the diversity of a strong economy.
Native citizens engaged in trade and commerce impact economic multipliers in the generation of new jobs; forging of new networks and referrals; the emergence of new role models and mentors; they retain local talent; build community prosperity; and strengthen the local tax base. They also support other Native-owned businesses/enterprises with their purchases.
If used wisely, economic multipliers provide Nation Planners, Economic/Community Development Departments and Native Nation Leaders with estimates of employment, gross sales and income that will result from new economic activity.
Comparison of the alternatives can help Native Governments achieve the greatest benefit in planning and implementing long range strategies such as:
- New commercial business and zoning law;
- Long term planning for infrastructure development;
- Reframing purchase policy and procedures that are supportive of Citizen-owned business;
- Turning unused/empty properties into Commercial Business Centers;
- New loan programs or investment in Citizen-owned businesses;
- Analyzing leakage and gaps to forecast sustainable Citizen-owned business development opportunities.
How Native Governments Can Build Capacity in Citizen-Owned Business
One of the most significant steps a Native Government can make is the adoption of a “Buy Native - Buy Local First” resolution that includes supportive and enforceable policies.
Most Citizen-owned business is small business. They typically charge a higher rate on services in the start-up phase of their business. Creating supportive policies and set-aside purchases dedicated to Citizen-owned business will build capacity in those organizations and ensure they gain a competitive edge. Citizen-owned businesses are far more likely to reinvest in their local communities versus a large corporation who will take their earnings and invest it elsewhere.
Investing in Citizen-owned business ensures a stronger future for the coming generations, and moves these businesses into the local, regional, national and global arenas, which in turn increases economic multipliers.
This type of investment and approach will ultimately lead to sustainable economic growth, new jobs, increased self-determination, self-sufficiency, self-reliance and reduced dependence on Native Government Programs.
Commitment to research and identification of regional economic clusters and supply chains enables Nation Planners, Economic/Community Development Departments and Native Nation Leaders to effectively:
- Build capacity and investment in Citizen-owned businesses;
- Identify Citizen-owned businesses within the region that can work collectively to fulfill large orders and meet the supply and demand of Native Nation Governments and enterprises;
- Strengthen the ability to forecast the “ripple effects” of new industry and business expansions.
In closing, MNIBA firmly believes that the change we wish to see must begin with ourselves first! MNIBA is challenging our partners and every visitor to this site to make a commitment to Buy Native - Buy Local First for one year! We must each lead by example and send a strong message of support to our Citizen-owned businesses through our purchases.
Artists, Entrepreneurs, and Organizations Served