Spring Change, Bridge to Success and The Marketing Mix

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Hello, friends and colleagues! It’s hard to believe that we are already in the third month of 2016! Team ONABEN has been incredibly busy! But, alas I found some time to catch you up on our progress and projects!

In February our team traveled to El Paso, Texas, where we kicked off our Bridge to Success (B2S) Program. B2S, as our staff affectionately refers to it, consists of a group of 15 small business owners from Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Funded by the SBA Office of Native American Affairs, the Bridge to Success program is designed to enhance our participants’ capacity to provide contractual services to the federal government, tribal entities, and minority supplier development programs offered by large corporations. Guess what! Our program was a huge success! I don’t think even I could have imagined a more successful kickoff meeting! The small business owners immediately bonded. And, each participant walked away feeling as if their time with Team ONABEN was time well spent. And, that’s a big compliment to our team. Thanks to each of our Bridge to Success participants and the National Center Native American PTAC for taking part in our program! I am thrilled to see where this project takes us, and the entrepreneurs involved.

Bridge to Success Cohort - Spring 2016

March is off to a great start! Team ONABEN just returned from Hawaii, where we provided training on Molokai and Oahu. Our work on Molokai is funded by the Administration for Native Americans, and our time on the island is always inspiring. The bond that we have with these entrepreneurs gets stronger and stronger. And, our island partners are a joy to collaborate with. The work on Oahu was a service provided to our friends at OWEESTA and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. There is only one word to describe our experience…grateful. Team ONABEN loves meeting and working with new entrepreneurs. And, we love establishing new partnerships. I am a firm believer that collaboration and coordination is instrumental in creating true change. Why work separately when so much can be accomplished when organizations work in unison?


Let me see, what else? Oh, I found myself in North Carolina since our last communication. Remember the Authentically Cherokee website that ONABEN is creating for our artist-friends in Cherokee, North Carolina? Well, the website is coming along, and it was time for head shots of our artists and photographs of some of the artwork that will be sold on the site. I also met with our friends at the Asheville Arts Museum to discuss the Authentically Cherokee Fine Art Marketplace. We have a date for this year’s event! Join us on Saturday, June 4, in front of the Asheville Art Museum from noon to 6 pm.  I would love to see you there!

Big news! ONABEN has an addition to its Indianpreneurship Suite of Products! The Marketing Mix: The 4 P’s of Marketing is ready for distribution. Our newest workbook will make a wonderful addition to your training platform if you are a resource provider. And, if you are a small business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, the text is an informative way to grow your knowledge of marketing. I am very proud of our team. Diversifying our product base is important. And, by the end of summer, look for another addition to our product list!


There is so much more I could write, but alas, I have writing to do for another project. But, before I close, I would like to thank each of you for your interest in ONABEN! We appreciate the support of our funders, the encouragement of our colleagues and the excitement generated by the entrepreneurs that we serve. Each of you, and the roles that you play in our work, inspire us to dream bigger, work harder, and plan better!


Talk Soon, V.


Michael Bridges

Michael Bridges

Michael is a proud U.S. Army Veteran and a member of the Cherokee Nation. With 10 years of service as an Infantryman, Michael implements the core values of integrity, honor, and selfless service into his leadership of the company. With over 20 years of experience, Michael began working with building websites and graphic design in 1998. A family-oriented man, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife Kristina and their three children. He is a proud and active member of Jenks Lodge #497 A.F. & A.M. and an advisor for the Order of DeMolay.