An annual American Indian powwow taking place Saturday in Lindenhurst kicks off a study about starting an American Indian business incubator on Long Island.
Representatives from the Montaukett, Setalcott, Shinnecock and Unkechaug tribes are looking for ways to help American Indian entrepreneurs on Long Island. Working in collaboration with the nonprofit Long Island Community Foundation as well as Stony Brook University, the tribal members want to see if an incubator could assist those looking to launch a start-up and those hoping to grow their existing business.
In addition to the Paumanauke Pow-Wow's traditional dancing, food and crafts, the 35th annual event provides an opportunity for outreach to Long Island's American Indian business entrepreneurs, said Darlene Troge, a member of the Shinnecock tribe and a director of Shinnecock Sovereign Holdings Inc. The powwow takes place at Babylon Town Hall Park Saturday and Sunday.
The feasibility study includes a survey, which Troge said is critical to finding out what businesses Long Island American Indians own and how they want to expand their business, as well as learning what people need to get a start-up off the ground.
Troge noted that despite more than 3,000 manufacturers on Long Island, the industry has become stagnant. She noted the federal government has contract set-asides for American Indians.
"One of our goals is to leverage the assets that native people bring to the table," she said.
If the study shows a need for an incubator, entrepreneurs can receive training and be matched to industries on Long Island. The incubator could include a building that houses 10 to 20 small start-ups that share business equipment and a receptionist, she said. There could also be on-site workshops and one-on-one help in starting or growing businesses.
Troge, citing census data, said American-Indian owned businesses in the tristate area accounted for nearly $2 billion in revenue. "So we know there are successful entrepreneurs out there and we want to identify them and build on that success and bring it to Long Island," Troge said.
The feasibility study, which is being funded by the Long Island Community Foundation, will be conducted by Florida-based Greenwood Consulting Group. The survey is at http://tiny.cc/LINAincubator.