Leech Lake AIBL Opens Campus Cafe

Feb 15th, 1997 | By | Category: 8-4: Racism, Tribal College News
By Evon Haarklau
OJIBWE CAFE FOUNDERS

The Ojibwe Cafe is open: (left to right) President Larry Aitken, Amber Lord, Ramona Aggarwal, Kevin Fairbanks, Kelly Isham, Instructor Evon Haarklau, and Louise Jackson.

Student entrepreneurs at Leech Lake Tribal College have opened the Ojibwe Cafe, the only cafe on the campus in Leech Lake, Minnesota. The students belong to the local chapter of American Indian Business Leaders, a student-based organization designed to support and promote the American Indian business student and entrepreneur. Members of the chapter act as the board of directors for the cafe, and profits go to support AIBL’s mission at the college.The students took a 4-credit Small Business Management Internship offered through the college business department. Kelly Isham says, “I now know what to do to start my own business, from writing the business plan to ordering my goods and equipment, to making sure that my customers are satisfied and will keep coming back.”

Louise Jackson is enrolled in Principles of Marketing at the college where she and others are writing the cafe’s marketing plan. Both Isham and Jackson helped write the cafe’s business plan. Kevin Fairbanks says he has learned about different vendors and customers and what it takes to start a business. Fairbanks and Marilyn Drumbeater are building the cafe’s balance sheet and income statement for the spring quarter Accounting III class to use. Drumbeater learned her financial skills in Financial Management and Accounting last fall quarter at the college. Students Margaret Staples and Ramona Aggarwal bring years of restaurant and hospitality experience to the cafe project.

AIBL is a national initiative organized under the auspices of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. AIBL’s national headquarters are at the University of Montana’s School of Business, where AIBL was founded in 1994.

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