Group helps Native women on Navajo Nation become entrepreneurs

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FRUITLAND, N.M. — At the Upper Fruitland Chapter House, it was all about digging deeper into what it means to be an entrepreneur.

“We are doing an in-person training for our program Native Women Rising and teaching Native women how to become an entrepreneur and start and grow a business,” said Dawn Facka, the regional manager for WESST Farmington Women’s Business Center.

They started this program two years ago after noticing a gap in services for Native American women who wanted to start their own businesses.

“Our organization WESST is to support women and women of color and we realized here in San Juan County that, that was not being done and so these women were being left behind,” Facka said. “We’re focusing on communities outside that are often marginalized and forgotten or not even thought of.”

Whether that’s beading, basket weaving, or baking, all ideas are welcomed.

“We are going to be setting the mindset around entrepreneurship and trying to empower women to really begin this work and start a business,” Facka said.

The group helps Indigenous women maximize their success in their craft.

“To empower the people and people of color to let them know that you don’t have to be a W-2 employee you can actually pave your own path and go after financial freedom on your own,” said Alyssa Begay, Native Women Rising business consultant and trainer. 

The next free workshop will be on creating a business plan at the Shiprock Chapter House on Thursday, March 30.