• Rob Pero

Creating Opportunities for Collaboration with Indigenous-led Businesses

Updated: May 19

Creating Opportunities for Collaboration with Indigenous-led Businesses

Perodigm Blog, May 17th, 2022


Our last blog post explained how developing strong Diversity and Inclusion policies and implementing business strategies that foster Indigenous involvement can strengthen the workplace and improve ESG scores.


Indigenous-inclusive policies, however, are more than a way to strengthen hiring and retention activities geared toward employees. Diversity and Inclusion efforts should extend beyond HR and into business-to-business relationships and partnerships. Similar to how misconceptions influence the perception of Indigenous people and culture in the workplace, Indigenous-led businesses and the overall Indigenous community is often viewed as having little or no impact on the economy.


The truth is that the Indigenous economy is dynamic and influential. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Native American-owned businesses contribute over $33 billion to the U.S. economy every year and employ over 200,000 people. Historically, the Indigenous bartering system was robust, and entrepreneurship is built into the histories of Native communities. Indigenous cultures foster an entrepreneurial mindset that is mindful of resources and values diverse thinking.


Through our work with the Minnesota Tribal Contractors Council (MNTCC), founded last year to provide a voice for Native American Contractors and to promote the economic development of the trades industry in Minnesota, Perodigm is helping to dismantle these misconceptions and position Indigenous-led companies as the influential business partners they are.


OUR WORK WITH MNTCC


One thing that we have learned working in Native country over the years is there is a renaissance of independent, Tribally-owned businesses that are driving their local economies. Indigenous-led businesses are hiring Indigenous people and providing workforce development, educating their employees and contractors, and ultimately building a more successful future for the next generation.


More than a policy, these companies are integrating inclusive practices into every aspect of their business. We’ve even met business owners who provide Indigenous workers with boots and a ride to work. The Minnesota Tribal Contractors Council was formed by these Indigenous business owners as a way to organize, advocate, and support each other.


The MNTCC gives Native/Tribally-owned and Indigenous-led organizations a unique opportunity to network with potential industry partners and the private business sector, educates the private sector on how and why to do business with Indigenous-led organizations in Minnesota, and brings Native-owned businesses together to discuss advocacy efforts with the goal of the ongoing development of the Indigenous-led economic landscape.


Knowing that there is strength in numbers, the MNTCC works to bring Indigenous-owned businesses together to strengthen negotiations and purchasing power, provide more contracting opportunities for Indigenous-led businesses, and have a louder voice on a larger stage.


The MNTCC has successfully illustrated how advocacy can be effective in building real change by positioning Indigenous-led businesses as leaders in their industries and the private sector. Especially in construction and contracting where Indigenous people have uniquely qualifying perspectives, amplifying the message of the importance of working with Indigenous businesses helps reduce the misconceptions about Indigenous culture and people and increases the opportunities for the Indigenous community to work in the private sector. Advocacy groups like the MNTCC are also becoming attractive and valued strategic partners for government, state, and private industry.


We’ve helped guide MNTCC through its planning and launch stages, executing brand development work and logo creation, video production, social media management, website design and hosting, and amplification of messaging with public relations efforts.


Seeing diverse businesses start to organize and form advocacy associations only adds to the stock that diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just a passing trend but a commitment to strengthening the economic landscape for all, allowing us to grow businesses side-by-side and to leverage our differences as strengths.



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