Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Impediments to Business Development in the Navajo Nation

Class

Article

Department

Management

Faculty Mentor

Ryan Yonk

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Since its foundation, the Navajo Nation has had little economic development and faces unemployment rates of nearly fifty percent. This raises a question: What are the impediments to business development within the Navajo Nation? We hypothesize that this lack of business development has been hindered by: increased "red tape," as there are more than the normal number of processes for entrepreneurs to obtain a business license as a result of the dual nature of the tribal and federal governments; lack of property rights caused by communal land laws; and the local culture of dependency of federal assistance programs. We analyze the relationship between the time it takes to acquire a business license and the number of overall applicants, how the absence of property rights creates barriers to securing capital for use as collateral when applying for loans, and the inverse relationship between government dependency and starting a business. Using these variables, we compare Kayenta, a township within the Navajo Nation that has been granted municipality and political autonomy, with a small community within the reservation known as Monetezuma Creek. A case study of business owners in Kayenta compared to Montezuma Creek further illustrates conditions that hinder business development within the reservation.

Start Date

4-9-2015 9:00 AM

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Apr 9th, 9:00 AM

Impediments to Business Development in the Navajo Nation

Since its foundation, the Navajo Nation has had little economic development and faces unemployment rates of nearly fifty percent. This raises a question: What are the impediments to business development within the Navajo Nation? We hypothesize that this lack of business development has been hindered by: increased "red tape," as there are more than the normal number of processes for entrepreneurs to obtain a business license as a result of the dual nature of the tribal and federal governments; lack of property rights caused by communal land laws; and the local culture of dependency of federal assistance programs. We analyze the relationship between the time it takes to acquire a business license and the number of overall applicants, how the absence of property rights creates barriers to securing capital for use as collateral when applying for loans, and the inverse relationship between government dependency and starting a business. Using these variables, we compare Kayenta, a township within the Navajo Nation that has been granted municipality and political autonomy, with a small community within the reservation known as Monetezuma Creek. A case study of business owners in Kayenta compared to Montezuma Creek further illustrates conditions that hinder business development within the reservation.