Beyond Gaming: Building a Strong Economy
March 27, 2018

Earlier this month, Blue Stone Strategy Group hosted a panel at the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) annual conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, to discuss the importance of diversification in building strong tribal economies.

In his remarks, Blue Stone founder Jamie Fullmer encouraged tribes to take a more proactive approach to their community and economic development by prioritizing and building capacity―not only of their tribal governments and its businesses, but also the people within their community.

“What kind of capacity is needed to build a future workforce? What are the needs of the community today?” asked Fullmer. “There’s a balance of what’s needed to today and looking at the future and building an economy for tomorrow. This is the true challenge for all leaders.”

As tribes continue their evolution toward growth and self-determination, Fullmer said it is crucial that they begin looking beyond gaming by developing other sources of potential revenue, including natural resources, agriculture and food sovereignty, as well as financial services, among many others.

“It’s important to develop projects that identify, explore, and consider industries where the Tribe can leverage existing Tribally-owned businesses and the competitive advantages of a sovereign nation,” said Fullmer. “By developing joint ventures or new public-private business partnerships, you are creating employment opportunities and advancement for Tribal members, which increases their own sense of purpose and creates stability within the community.”

But before that can happen, said Fullmer, the first task is to make a realistic assessment of your community, its government, its business and its human capital.

“How is your society currently functioning? How many young people do you have? How many elders, how many working people do you have? How many live in the community?” he said. “What resources do you actually have that you can look to and utilize in the future? Take the time to look at the surrounding area and the region.”

These are all questions, said Fullmer, that can help focus your plans and set realistic goals for the future.

“By doing the work and laying the groundwork now,” said Fullmer, “You will be putting building blocks into place for a stronger, more sustainable economy that can withstand market pressures and political forces that tribes now face across the country.”

Blue Stone Strategy Group works with Tribal Leaders to assess tribal programs and businesses to evaluate their efficiency and effectiveness.  Blue Stone also works with tribal leaders to develop strategic plans that guide tribes forward with key priorities and initiatives that support continued growth and sustainability of tribal businesses and tribal governments.

Want to learn more about how your tribe can benefit from Strategic Planning?  Contact us at 949-476-8828 or at and set up a call to discuss how Blue Stone can assist as you move forward.

Want to hear more about building sustainable tribal economies? Join us for our next panel discussion at the National Indian Gaming Association Tradeshow and Convention on April 18 at 9 a.m. in Las Vegas!