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Indian tribe unites business development efforts

June/July 2012

Roseburg, Ore., is at the center of what local tourism officials call “The Land of Umpqua.” The region’s cold, clear steams draw trout anglers from all over the world, and its fertile mountainsides yield picturesque wineries, fueling the dominant industry of the region — tourism.

The region is also home to the indigenous Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians’ lucrative Seven Feathers Casino and Resort. The third-largest employer in the Roseburg area, the tribe invests its profits in a variety of ways, including the new Umpqua Business Center, which opened in late spring.

Unlike some other incubation programs sponsored by Indian tribes, the Umpqua center is neither exclusively retail in focus nor limited to tribal enterprises. Instead, the tribe’s resources are put to work in an incubation program serving the whole region.

“While the tribe was the catalyst for the whole business incubation push, it is not a tribal incubator,” says Rene Toman, interim executive director of the center. “The 17-member board of directors includes the tribal chairman, but also a county commissioner and the city manager. It’s about regional economic development for everyone. The tribe brought together a far bigger collaboration in this program.”

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Keywords: Incubator development - general

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