It’s November – National Native American Heritage Month, and I am honored to set aside this time to recognize some of the most remarkable entrepreneurs in the consumer space in our today’s weekly headlines roundup, and stress why it is important to support the community on a daily basis.
It is particularly worth noting that All Raise, a nonprofit that helps accelerate the success of female founders and funders, recently highlighted Springdale Ventures, appraising Betsy Fore for being the first Native American to raise a series A for her company Tiny Organics.
This is significant, since Native Americans and Alaska Natives only make up around 2% of the U.S. population, and nearly 0% of venture funding goes to entrepreneurs in the community, compared to the percentage of VC money going to overall minority and women founders that remains at low single digit – a dire reality that urgently needs to be reversed.
More importantly, Native American entrepreneurs are a young and growing market. The U.S. census showed the median age on reservations is 29, compared to 38 across the country. Let’s take a look at some influential Native American-owned consumer businesses here:
Séka Hills: The California-based food brand, owned and operated by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, offers a line of home staples, including honey, olive oil, and vinegar. They’re also perfectly designed for gifting occasions.
SweetGrass Trading Co.: The company offers a collection of authentic Native American goods, ranging from food & beverage, educational, gifts, to ceremonial crafts. All their products are created by Indigenenous business owners.
Tanka Bar: Based on traditional wasna and pemmican, the company’s meat snacks combine high-protein, prairie-fed buffalo meat and tart-sweet cranberries with Native American ancestors’ deep knowledge of the ideal portable energy for endurance, top performance and healthful life.
Aconav: The fashion brand, founded by Loren (Acoma Pueblo) and Valentina (Navajo) Aragon, honors the strength of women and respectfully represents Native American culture through beautiful dresses and handbags. More specifically, the brand celebrates the culture of the Acoma Pueblo, whose traditions and pottery art are reflected in each design.
Arxotica: Alaskan Native triplet sisters Michelle, Cika and Amy Sparck created the skincare brand to harness the power of arctic botanicals, offering a line of products including hand sanitizer sprays, lip balm and eye cream.
Morning Light Kombucha: Native-American woman founder, Melinda Williamson, created handcrafted kombucha with fresh ingredients harvested by local farmers who are committed to sustainable agricultural
practices, delivered directly to consumers nationwide.