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July 26, 2022

Contact:  Levi Rickert

E: [email protected] 

M: (616) 299-7542  


Tribal Business News to Host Economic Summit for Great Lakes Tribes, Citizens

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Tribal Business News, a business publication focused solely on covering the $130 billion tribal economy, announced today that it will host the first-ever economic summit for tribes and tribal citizens in the Great Lakes region.

The Great Lakes Tribal Economic Summit will be held on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, at Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business in downtown Grand Rapids. The summit aims to bring together tribal leaders, Native business executives and Indigenous entrepreneurs from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, as well as representatives from state and federal agencies that work with tribes on economic development projects and initiatives.  

The inaugural Great Lakes Tribal Economic Summit is presented by Tribal Business News in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, GVSU’s Seidman College of Business, and Michigan-based business publication MiBiz. The summit is also supported by sponsors including Fifth Third Bank, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Little River Holdings LLC, and Native-owned law firm Rosette, LLP. 

“Tribal Business News is excited to bring together tribes, state and federal officials, and non-Native business leaders in an effort to spur the tribal economy in the Great Lakes region,” said Publisher Levi Rickert. “Tribes are a powerful force in Michigan and elsewhere in the region. The timing for the summit is right as tribes navigate beyond the pandemic to a brighter future.”

The daylong summit will highlight current business and economic development projects that the region’s tribes are working on in 2022, as well as panel discussions and speakers talking about strategy, innovation, concrete examples of “what’s working” in Indian Country, and how to work with Tribes, tribal enterprises, Native businesses and Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Some of the sessions will focus on access to capital in Indian Country, opportunities in tourism for tribes, and how COVID-19 has reshaped tribal economic development.

The summit also plans to include in-person presentations by several senior-level federal officials responsible for working with tribes and Native-owned businesses, including Native American executives from the Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy and Department of Transportation. They will offer details about federal programs as well as specifics on how Tribes and Native businesses can access them.   

Tribal Business News will release additional information next week about the summit, including speakers and detailed discussion topics, Rickert said.  

In Michigan alone, Michigan Indian tribes provide more than $288 million to the state’s economy, according to the Michigan Non-Gaming Tribal Economic Impact Study (2019) underwritten by the MEDC. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, tribal economies among the 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan grew at a faster rate than the overall economy of the State of Michigan, according to economist Eric Trevan, Ph.D., who authored the 2019 study and is in the process of updating his work that will include 2021 statistics. 

“Fifth Third Bank is proud to support the Great Lakes Tribal Economic Summit and economic development throughout West Michigan,” said Mike Chaffin, senior commercial banker at Fifth Third Bank. “The tribes are uniquely positioned for sustainable growth through economic development, and we plan on being there to support those efforts.” 

About Tribal Business News

Tribal Business News is a digital publication delivering in-depth stories, analysis and business intelligence on all aspects of Native business, entrepreneurship and economic development activities. It’s a comprehensive 24/7 tool for tribes, tribal entities, policymakers, and anyone doing business in Indian Country.