Cherokee Nation’s ‘Innovation Hub’ Providing Resources for New Businesses

Cherokee Nation Businesses HQ

TAHLEQUAH, OK – Cherokee Nation Commerce Services is now offering entrepreneurial workshops, workspaces, and helpful resources for early-stage businesses through the Innovation Hub located in downtown Tahlequah, OK. The Innovation Hub is on the second floor of the Cort Mall and is now officially open for use.

“It’s extremely important to encourage and help drive economic impact across the Cherokee Nation Reservation,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “This Innovation Hub will be a place where people with business ideas and dreams can have a landing place to work on those endeavors with resources such as reserving an office, a desk, a boardroom or even if they just need someone to mentor them. This space is built for entrepreneurs to succeed, and I can’t wait to see the progress of those who utilize it.”

This grant-funded Innovation Hub is a member of both the Oklahoma Business Incubator Association and the International Business Incubator Association, and is open to everyone regardless of tribal citizenship. 

The Innovation Hub currently offers a hybrid workspace known as a “hot desk” room, as well as a pitch room with floor-to-ceiling marker boards, a classroom, a single private office, and a boardroom for those who wish to reserve them. A podcast studio and outdoor co-working space will be available soon. All spaces have audio-visual equipment available and access to a copy machine and basic business supplies.

Other resources include support from business coaches who are certified Growth Wheel Advisors and a weekly workshop with a discussion of small business and entrepreneurship. “Workshop Wednesday” is every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. It is offered virtually and in-person inside the Innovation Hub. Various cohorts and classes also take place in the space.

“We know that small business is the backbone of America, so empowering entrepreneurs on the Cherokee Nation reservation is so important,” said Mindy Madewell-Baker, Business Incubator Manager. “Success for entrepreneurs not only puts food on their family table, but builds rural communities and fosters economic growth by creating local jobs and preserving local community and cultural identity throughout the 14 counties and beyond. In the Innovation Hub, we want to provide an ecosystem for people to be innovative and successful.”

Cherokee Nation Commerce Services offers programs that assist in building financial security, advancing and encouraging small business development and entrepreneurship, promoting artist development, and fostering community tourism. Commerce Services also operates the Small Business Assistance Center, Spider Gallery, and Kawi Café, as well as the Cherokee Arts Center.