MISSOULA – The University of Montana’s chapter of American Indian Business Leaders attended the 24th annual National AIBL Leadership Conference in Chandler, Arizona, in April, and earned first place in the University Division of the conference business plan competition.
The UM chapter developed plans for an aquaponic garden located on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in eastern Montana called Cultivated by Native Montana.
The UM chapter took seven members, all from different tribes and fields of study. The UM attendees and their areas of study were:
- Jordynn Paz, Crow, journalism and Native American studies.
- Courtney Little Axe, Northern Cheyenne and Absentee Shawnee, anthropology.
- Lauren Clairmont, Salish and Little Shell, French and Native American studies.
- Craig Brown, Dine, business.
- Zachary Wagner, Northern Cheyenne and Blackfeet, Native American studies.
- Richard Mittens, Blackfeet, business management.
- Terydon Hall, Blackfeet, political science.
AIBL is a national organization that seeks to increase the representation of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in business and entrepreneurial ventures. It was founded at UM in 1994. Today, there are more than 75 chapters nationwide.
The national conference promotes leadership in American Indian youth by providing engaging workshops led by American Indian entrepreneurs and competitions such as a Business Plan, Elevator Pitch and Chapter of the Year. AIBL students from high schools, tribal colleges and universities from throughout the U.S. attended this year’s conference.
“The UM AIBL Chapter would like to express their thanks to the UM and Missoula community for all their help in making this year a great year for the chapter,” said Larry Gianchetta, faculty adviser to UM’s AIBL chapter.