Follow these simple steps to start learning online!

icon_1Select a Course

Explore the virtual trainings available at the Building Native Industry Institute and select one that sparks your interest.

icon_2Start Learning

Watch the various video clips and download handouts and resources to complete your training.




Business Education Courses

Find Courses by Subject Area

Starting A Business

Embarking on an Entrepreneurial Journey.

This section of the Building Native Industry Online Learning Center will provide you with the information you need to get off on the right foot.


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Growing A Business

Taking the Next Steps in Business Expansion.

This section of the Building Native Industry Institute will guide you in taking your business to the next level.


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Business Management

Managing for Success.

This section of the Building Native Industry Institute will increase your knowledge on managing a business for success.


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Money, Money, Money.

This section of the Building Native Industry Institute will equip you with information on how to manage your business’ money.


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Creating an Environment Supportive to Sales.

This section of the Building Native Industry Institute will educate you on some of the most fundamental principles of marketing your business.


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Our Experts

Tawney Brunsch

Executive Director

Tawney Brunsch is the Executive Director of Lakota Funds, the first-ever Native community development financial institution on a reservation. With a well-versed career in the financial industry, Ms. Brunsch is committed to revitalizing the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation’s economy by providing access to sound lending products paired with the assistance necessary for private sector development. She innovated a collaborative of key regional leaders in the Native asset-building field to form the Great Plains Native Asset Building Coalition, and is a member of the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance and the Native CDFI Network. Ms. Brunsch received her Bachelor’s Degree in Commercial Economics from South Dakota State University and is certified as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Preparer.



Angela Koenen

Project Coordinator

Angela Koenen is the Project Coordinator for the Building Native Industry Institute.  Her role is to manage the online learning center that delivers access to business education opportunities for entrepreneurs in Pine Ridge. She holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix-Southern California Campus. She has a background in Training and Development and Adult Education. Angela holds certificates in Native American Women in Leadership, Adult Education Training Techniques by Langevin Learning Center, and  Dispute Resolution.



Yolanda Clifford

Outreach Coordinator

Yolanda was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and resides near Kyle, South Dakota. During her senior year in high school, she participated in the early-entry program at Oglala Lakota College where she earned her very first college credits. Yolanda obtained her one-year certificate in Office Technology in the Spring of 2008 and later earned an Associate’s Degree in the Spring of 2010 from Oglala Lakota College. Yolanda is currently a full-time student at Oglala Lakota College, working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Management/Accounting.




Tony Taylor

Training Specialist

Tony Taylor, Loan Improvement Specialist for Lakota Funds, is a certified Economic Development Financial Professional and a certified VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Professional) preparer.  Tony graduated from Gordon High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Chadron State College.





Katie Hunter started the first-ever dollar store on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Starting her own business enabled her to have a job that was in her home town with flexibility to be a mother. Since opening, they have expanded their inventory to meet the needs of community members.

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“The end goal is to have job opportunities for the local people here and to expand our own economy.”

Katie Hunter, Dollar Hunter

Although Ken Sodderlin was going to college to be a teacher, he ended up in the plumbing industry after working summers in construction. He has developed job costing tools to help him estimate jobs in order to be profitable.

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Sometimes you burn a lot of late hours, but running a business is great. The benefits are awesome.

Ken Sodderlin, Sod’s Mechanical

Michael Patton’s passion and his grandmother inspired him to start his own shop. He began with air brushing, but has also done painting and drawing. He ended up purchasing a screen printing business to expand his art business into a clothing line. Classes offered by Lakota Funds helped him to develop his business skills.

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“People don’t wake up in the middle of the night stressed out because they have a piece of artwork on their wall. You have to find a special way to market it.”

Michael Patton, Lakota Art Studio

Randall Blaze is a visual artist who works on several mediums, including life size bronze pieces. He has been an artist for 40 years and has done jewelry, ceramics, and metal sculpture. He considers his art more of passion, rather than a business.

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“Ive always been enamored by metal, and I’ve been sticking with bronze for a while.”

Randall Blaze, Artist




This project funded in part by the Health and Human Services Administration for Native Americans.