Entrepreneurship focus in Naryan-Mar, Nenets

 For more than one year, more than 70 entrepreneurs – most of them young – from the whole Barents region have been working hard to develop their business ideas and enterprises. Three conferences have been arranged within the Indigee – Indigenous Entrepreneurship project and a strong network of friendship and partnership has developed between the participants of the project. As the third and last international conference was held in Naryan-Mar, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, in the end of September, the participants can look forward to further development but possibly also a continuation of the Indigee project.

Indigee started off with a conference in the end of October 2010 in Vuoltjere (Vilhelmina), Sweden. Just about 40 participants gathered to an intensive week of workshops, idea development and business development courses. Each participant entered the project with a specific business idea or an enterprise to develop. Indigee offered them business counselling with the goal to achieve concrete development for the participants. Given three conferences and monthly business counselling to the participants, an evaluation poll among the participants of the Naryan-Mar conference showed that 45% of the participants had clearly increased their income or profit as a result of their participation in Indigee. More than half of them said that they had started to sell a new product or service as a result of their participation and 69% answered that they had established a concrete cooperation with another Indigee participant.
– Indigee for me was a new and different way to network and get knowledge. What I liked the most at the first conference was the individual time with the advisor and the generosity with advice and encouragement from the other participants, says Anne Wuolab, establisher of a café in the town of Lycksele and one of the Indigee participants from Sweden.
Indigee has also been important for Neeta Inari Jääskö, in founding Atelier-boutique Gorgŋetak in Varjjatvuotna (Varangerfjord) a small village on the shore of Northern Norway. Neeta works hard selling and making Saami handicraft and silver jewelry.

Lars Miguel Utsi, the project manager, is impressed by the participating entrepreneurs.
– We have learnt a lot from the Indigee project. We have seen what techniques and models are successful in this context and what is not as successful. The participants have shown great development. They started as people full of energy but a little bit lost at the first conference, and now, at the third conference they are sharp entrepreneurs, still with the same hunger to get things done but also with a clear roadmap of how to do it. I am impressed and proud of what they have achieved, says Utsi.
Indigee is now looking at the possibilities to prolong the project and will in that case be able to continue with business counselling for its participants during the spring.
– If we have the funds for it a seminar tour with national seminars will be arranged. We would also like to do a promotion tour to tell the indigenous communities about our results and what possibilities indigenous entrepreneurs have to develop, plans Utsi.
Indigee is a project owned by the Swedish Sami Association (SSR), Norwegian Sami Association (NSR), Finnish Sami Federation (SSG) and the International Barents Secretariat (IBS). It is funded by the Interreg IVA North, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Norwegian Barents Secretariat and the Danish Foreign Ministry. Regional funding has been granted by Nordland, Troms and Finnmark counties, Norrbotten County Council, Region Västerbotten, the Sami Parliaments of Norway and Sweden and the Saami Council.

More information: www.indigee.org


 Indigee workshop chum in Naryan Mar
Indigee workshop chum in Naryan Mar. Photo: Lars-Miguel Utsi.


Project Manager Lars-Miguel Utsi congratulates Neeta with her establishment of a new business in Norway. Photo: Karolina Banul

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