Published On: Sat, Aug 9th, 2014

USET to develop new resource to help American Indian entrepreneurs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A new resource for tribal businesses and American Indian entrepreneurs available to support business growth, training, and technical assistance is now located at the USET headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.  The Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce (MAICC) and the Native Diversification Network – Procurement Technical Assistance Center (NDN – PTAC) have received federal funding to operate a PTAC at the USET Nashville headquarters for the next three years.

As expressed by USET member tribal leaders, economic development directors, planners, and community developers, there is a need for technical assistance, training, and support for developing partnerships and relationships so Tribal enterprises and American Indian individually owned businesses are better positioned to obtain government contracts and expand marketing for entrepreneurs.

 Debbie Barber has recently been hired to operate the PTAC office in Nashville.  (USET photo)

Debbie Barber has recently been hired to operate the PTAC office in Nashville. (USET photo)

PTAC will play a large role in facilitating these resources for businesses in Indian Country according to MAICC Chairman Jon Otto (White Earth Band of Ojibwe – Minnesota Chippewa).

“The Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce is excited to partner with USET to support the NDN-PTAC, a Procurement and Technical Assistance Center specifically designed to provide business support services that expand government contracting opportunities for Tribal and Individual Indian owned businesses on reservations. With offices in both Nashville, Tennessee and St. Paul, Minnesota, this powerful partnership is well positioned to service all Tribal businesses in the USET and MAICC member networks as well as the Midwest and Eastern BIA regions,” Otto stated at the opening of the PTAC office at USET.

For USET, the opening of the PTAC office will fulfill one of the organization’s goals to offer economic development resources that support the Nation rebuilding and growth efforts of its member Tribal Nations.

“It is the fire of our economic sovereignty that we want to encourage and keep burning to ensure the long term sustainability and survival of our people,” USET president Brian Patterson stated after the PTAC office opened.  “This PTAC office is a step forward in building an economic development core competency within USET. This resource is positioned to help our membership strengthen their Tribal enterprises and build capacity among individual Native entrepreneurs.  The USET and NDN-PTAC is a great partnership and we look forward to having this relationship for many years to come.

The opening of a PTAC office, which will serve USET member tribes and others in the USET Region, has Tribal economic development directors energized according to USET Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Jason Lambert who is also the EBCI Director of Commerce.  “There have been many resources needed to help USET member Tribes boost economic development.  The creation of a PTAC office which will serve our region can help make effective and positive changes and growth for economic development with USET Tribes.  It will also give existing Tribal enterprises and Native American owned businesses a greater ability to obtain a contract with Tribal, state, and federal contracting agents.  We are excited to begin work with the NDN-PTAC office.”

PTAC provides free assistance to American Indian owned businesses who wish to do business in the government marketplace.  This market includes the contract and procurement activities of federal, state, municipal, and Tribal agencies.  PTAC also works with large prime contractors, subcontractors, and other businesses who have government contracts and are looking to partner with suppliers of goods and services.  The PTAC office at the USET headquarters in Nashville will also offer one-on-one counseling with clients for determining suitability for contracting, researching procurement histories, securing necessary registrations, identifying bid opportunities, certification programs, networking, and marketing.  In addition to the USET region, the Nashville NDN –PTAC office will provide services to Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Debbie Barber has recently been hired to operate the PTAC office in Nashville.  She spent nine years working with the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce as both a procurement specialist and procurement director for the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC).  Barber has a bachelor’s of science degree in business from Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio and will soon complete her master’s degree in strategic leadership through Tennessee Tech University.  She also has a Level 3 Certification with the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) and has to maintain that certification through continued professional development in the business and government contracting field.  Finally, Barber served several terms as chapter president of the National Contract Management Association, and, since moving to Tennessee, served as chapter president for the Music City Chapter.

Tribal enterprises or Indian owned businesses who would like to explore government contracting should contact Debbie Barber at the PTAC office in Nashville (615) 467-1553 or dbarber@ndn-ptac.org.  Businesses do not have to be 8(a) certified to consult with the PTAC office.

– USET