Maui Business

Web Chat Focuses on Native Hawaiian Business

November 18, 2011, 8:53 AM HST
* Updated November 18, 10:30 AM
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Maui business will have a unique chance to speak directly with Chris James, Assistant Administrator, SBA's Office of Native American Affairs. Photo courtesy of SBA.

By Sonia Isotov

In recognition of National Native American Heritage Month, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) is hosting a national web chat on “Small Business Opportunities for Native Americans” on Wednesday, November 23.

Native Hawaiian, Native Alaskan, and American Indian business owners and entrepreneurs will have a chance to ask Chris James, assistant administrator for the Office of Native American Affairs at the SBA about SBA programs and services. Participants will learn how to participate in the programs available and how to gain increased access to government contracting opportunities.

Chris James is from Cherokee, N.C. where his family has had small businesses on the Qualla Boundary for more than 50 years. He has more than a decade of experience in the field of small business and economic development on Native American lands.

Before joining the SBA, James was an associate program manager at the US Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI). There, he managed Native Initiatives, which included the CDFI Fund’s Expanding Native Opportunities capacity and training program and the Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program.


Prior to joining the CDFI Fund, he was associate director and senior loan officer for the Sequoyah Fund, Inc., a Native CDFI on the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indian’s Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, N.C. While there he gained experience in organizational management including the implementation of policies and procedures that benefit Native American communities. James was also responsible for creating initiatives designed to enhance entrepreneurial development and access to capital for Tribal and community members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.


He is a member of the Indian Affairs Executive Working Group and chairs the sub-committee on economic development. He was previously an active member of the Certified Entrepreneurial Council, Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council, National Association of Developmental Organizations, and the North Carolina Incubator Association.

Every month the SBA sponsors a web chat on a different topic giving small business owners an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs.  November’s web chat focuses on Native Americans and provides participants direct, real-time access to the web chats via questions they submit online in advance, and during the live session.

The web chat will be held from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 23, 2011. James will answer questions for one hour.


Participants can join the live web chat, and also post questions before the November 23rd chat, by going online to, and click on the web chat event under What’s New.

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