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ASU American Indian Policy Institute launches Inno-NATIONS initiative to support Native American businesses


January 31, 2017

The American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) at Arizona State University, in collaboration with ASU’s Entrepreneurship + Innovation, The Department co-working space, Maricopa County Small Business Development Center and The Visionary Magazine, announces the Inno-NATIONS Tribal Business Collision Community — an inter-tribal initiative championing tribal entrepreneurship and economic development across Arizona.

“This community we are building is really needed in Arizona and in the country. There are no other spaces like it,” said Dr. Traci Morris, AIPI director and Inno-NATIONS founder. “In fact, there are few tribal incubators in the country. We see the need, and the Phoenix Valley has a very large urban Indian population with a strong commitment to tribal business owners and is surrounded by tribes with tribal enterprises. Now is the time and this is the place.” Native American businesspeople The Inno-NATIONS Tribal Business Collision Community promotes entrepreneurship for Native American businesses. Download Full Image

By spearheading innovative partnerships and leveraging resources from ASU, tribes and community organizations, game-changers at Inno-NATIONS hope the “collision community” will cause a ripple effect of change in tribal communities. The goal is to support up-and-coming Native American entrepreneurs and ignite enterprises to fuel sustainable tribal economies by rejuvenating and modernizing traditional trade networks.

“One of our biggest priorities at ASU is to help diverse entrepreneurs succeed through culturally relevant programming,” said Ji Mi Choi, ASU associate vice president for strategic partnerships and programs. “Inno-NATIONS will support Native entrepreneurs to foster solutions that meet the needs of their communities and create economic impact.”

The inaugural Inno-NATIONS cohort will be housed at startup coworking hot spot The Department in downtown Phoenix on March 1 and 4, with the three-day pilot cohort starting in June.

“This is such an exciting and unique endeavor for Indian Country,” said Nathan Pryor, chair of the AIPI Advisory Board. “Native people have always been entrepreneurs; Inno-NATIONS will provide the means to grow more formalized tribal businesses through dynamic and contemporary means. We are overwhelmed from the positive support that Inno-NATIONS has received from ASU as we launch this new economic opportunity.”

Within a year after launch, plans are in place to expand and relocate the “collision community” to a culturally relevant space housing several anchor tribal businesses, a “maker” space, business incubator and coworking space.

For more information on the Inno-NATIONS program, steps to apply or become a partner, visit Inno-Nations.org, email Inno-Nations@asu.edu or call 480-965-1055.

ASU student brings language to her profession, excels


January 31, 2017

Arizona State University student Isabella Jaber shows that learning a language doesn’t just help get you a job, but can elevate your role in a workplace and help you achieve a number of goals.

Jaber, a student in the School of International Letters and Cultures (SILC), works at American Express as a business Centurion relations manager, where she manages, “a direct portfolio of about 40 to 60 of the company’s most valued clients." The language options and the cultural opportunities that [SILC] offers, as far as majors and minors and certificates go, it was really everything that I was looking for. Download Full Image

"Within that, I do personal, business travel – I do any type of concierge’s request and all of their financial servicing with the company,” Jaber said.

While a huge responsibility, Jaber has used her skills in business and language to not only support her clients, but also her coworkers at American Express. As the only bilingual person in her department, her Spanish language skills have allowed her to translate for clients in Peru, Mexico, Chile and Spain.

“The travel and international presence that’s done in our work on a daily basis, [being bilingual] has really come in handy with that,” Jaber said. “Spanish has been an everyday part of my role since I started.”

Jaber, who is half Hispanic and half Lebanese, also speaks Arabic, which she has used more to relate to clients who are multilingual themselves. She also used Spanish and Arabic at her previous job with Bank of America.

While she grew up speaking Spanish, Jaber saw the benefit of studying it in a more formal setting. She learned how to adapt her skills to a professional sphere through a major in Spanish linguistics, also taking classes through the SILC's heritage program. She’ll be graduating this May.

“I knew with my goals of wanting to eventually study global management and work internationally, I wanted to be as proficient in Spanish as I am in English – to have that same level of articulation and proficiency overall,” Jaber said.

“As far as the Arabic goes, I, being half Lebanese, I was never really taught Arabic or anything about the culture. So Arabic studies, that’s what really drove me to SILC, I had this strong passion of wanting to learn more about that world and speak the language too, have that ability to communicate,” Jaber said.

Jaber appreciates having language skills in her personal life as well: “on a day to day basis, it has really opened my mind to how I communicate with people.”

“I do love to travel a lot,” she said, “it’s that much more motivating because I know I can go out there into the cities and learn about the culture, what it has to offer. That’s my passion, learning other cultures and traveling the world.”

Gabriel Sandler