Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

New Mexico Community Capital

What is the name of your solution?

IndigiDAO- Diversifying the Ecology of the Indigiverse

Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Our solution pools and invests capital through a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to promote equity and reinvestment in Native communities.

Film your elevator pitch.

What specific problem are you solving?

We are solving 2 problems which compound to create significant barriers for the more than 270,000 Indigenous entrepreneurs in the United States. 

  • The widening digital divide reduces opportunity for engaging with, adopting, and creating innovative technologies to improve economic well-being;

  • Limited access to capital resources stunts the growth potential of Native-owned enterprises and in doing so, widens the racial wealth gap between Native Americans and other populations. Financing challenges stem from a lack of assets and established credit, isolation from mainstream financial institutions, and discrimination. 

Grant funds to address these problems are often administered by well meaning organizations that commonly fail to give affected community members a voice in how the funds are allocated. Furthermore, Native Americans as a whole are underrepresented in philanthropy and finance. While they make up 2.1% of the U.S. population, in 2020 Native communities received 0.4% of funding by large U.S. foundations (source: 

What is your solution?

Our solution uses a category of blockchain technology called decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) to improve upon member cooperative models to raise and distribute capital, build wealth, and share power. A DAO facilitates collective governance regarding how funds are pooled and allocated, giving everyone an equal experience of ownership. Members share resources using transparent ledger technology, which gives each member a direct democratic voice in how the group uses and distributes its assets. It’s like a bank account with shared access, along with a governing mechanism to control the members’ use of funds. 

In addition, we believe a digital finance cooperative can empower our communities to establish data sovereignty and gain valuable experience with cutting-edge digital tools. Our proposal includes staffed resources for training community members to onboard into the DAO and learn to use the open source tools to contribute to its governance.

The technology will be provided and implemented by our commercial partner Chroma Signet, a software development firm with 8 years of blockchain development experience. 

Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit? In what ways will your solution benefit this community?

As a majority Native-led and Native-serving organization, NMCC understands this population’s evolving needs by listening, observing, building trust, and sharing lived experience. It is our regular practice to continuously adapt our technical assistance approach to be culturally aligned and relevant. We also seek opportunities to pilot new ideas according to gaps in the local/regional ecosystem. 

For over 10 years, our organization has provided seed funds, business mentorship, tech-centered education, and access to capital. Our philosophy is grounded in a participatory approach that respects beneficiaries and invites them to co-facilitate, which guides the development of our programs and solutions. 

This particular solution - a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) - addresses the need for a transparent platform that offers emerging Native entrepreneurs an alternative to banks and lending institutions. At the same time, our solution supports a more equitable vision for Web 3.0 that puts Indigenous people at the forefront of emerging technologies.

How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Our project team at New Mexico Community Capital consists of diverse identities, passions, and skill sets. Henry Jake Foreman is of Absentee Shawnee and Filipino descent and will drive the work in his position as Program Director. Henry is himself a social entrepreneur as founder of Karuna Colectiva, an intergenerational cooperative that connects back to Indigenous ways of knowing. 

 As a majority Native-led and Native serving organization, NMCC strives to remain grounded in service to Indigenous entrepreneurs. We have built a flexible team that includes financial advisors, successful business owners, community planners, artists, creatives, and activists. In this case, we have cultivated a relationship with Chroma Signet, a technology company that shares our vision of amplifying Indigenous and BIPOC communities. Embedded in our design process is capacity building with the member entrepreneurs themselves. Their engagement allows us to co-design an ecology of technologies and technical assistance that is culturally relevant and relevant to their own personal and business challenges. 

Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Albuquerque, NM, USA

Our solution's stage of development:


Why are you applying to Solve?

We are applying to Solve to receive specialized technical assistance in developing a DAO, specifically, support to navigate the broader ecology beyond software development (legal services, business modeling, etc.). Native communities face a significant barrier around connecting with appropriate software developers and blockchain enterprises. This is further exacerbated by the lack of knowledge and perception of risk involved in Web 3.0 development such as cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens and DAOs.  

The NMCC leadership team is also motivated to connect with investors and companies that would like to support building this vision together. 

Given the volatile and speculative nature of cryptocurrency investments, the funds in the proposed DAO will remain in US Dollars. Our facilitation team and any curriculum to be developed will take care to avoid any implied or explicit promotion of such investments.

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Human Capital (e.g. sourcing talent, board development, etc.)
  • Business model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Legal or Regulatory Matters
  • Public Relations (e.g. branding/marketing strategy, social and global media)
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)
  • Product / Service Distribution (e.g. expanding client base)
  • Technology (e.g. software or hardware, web development/design, data analysis, etc.)

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Henry Jake Foreman

Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your Team Lead.

Absentee Shawnee

Is the Team Lead a resident of the United States?


Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Support the creation and growth of Native owned businesses and promote workforce programs in tribal communities.

More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Our solution provides Indigenous entrepreneurs improved access to capital resources and opportunities to engage with emerging technology and shared governance. Creating a DAO lays the foundation for a shared digital cooperative structure that decreases the barriers to accessing affordable or no cost financial services, marketing services, technical assistance and digital assets. The DAO itself will be built on open source software that others can access and modify according to their own community needs. 

 NMCC’s proposed solution presents a potentially catalytic model in 2 aspects:

  • It addresses a critical issue facing Native communities - data sovereignty - by providing a platform that allows each member to own their own data. 

  • It provides a model that can be replicated across communities throughout the world to strengthen cohesion, collective buying power, and economies of scale. 

What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

Our impact goals for the discovery phase (Year 1) include:

  • Cultivate a group of people united by a motivation to pilot a DAO centered on the needs of Native American entrepreneurs. 

  • Build a DAO powered by blockchain technology in partnership with Chroma Signet.

  • Engage the DAO’s members in listening sessions to understand the obstacles they face in strengthening and/or growing their companies.

  • Educate the DAO’s members about blockchain technology and facilitate a process in which its overall purpose and economic architecture (tokens, votes, etc.) are established. 

Our impact goals for subsequent years will be contingent upon fundraising success and co-developed with project beneficiaries. 

  • NMCC will facilitate an experiential digital and financial education through the co-development of shared governance protocols and a strategy to acquire and distribute physical and digital assets. 

  • One avenue for potential exploration is to develop QR codes for participants’ smart product packaging. A DAO structure could allow portions of sales revenue to grow a collective fund. 

  • NMCC will also engage potential investors, companies, and startups to invest or match funds. 

How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

The following list of indicators will be considered by NMCC in our initial approach to measuring progress towards impact goals. The majority will be generated by data analytics while others will be tracked by project staff. We are also interested in integrating health and well-being indicators.

  • # of DAO members

  • # of Indigenous DAO members

  • # of DAO members participating in listening sessions

  • # of DAO members voting on establishing its purpose(s) / architecture

  • # of DAO members voting on uses / investments of funds

  • # of DAO members proposing revenue generation models

  • # of DAO members accessing capital for their businesses

  • $ Amount invested into DAO member enterprises

  • # of potential match investors educated on this initiative

  • # of match investors who join this initiative

  • $ Amount of additional raised to grow the DAO’s investment capacity 

What is your theory of change?

The theory of change anchoring our project is that economic empowerment for emerging and established Native entrepreneurs is accelerated by the integration of cutting-edge technology and Indigenous ways of knowing. 

According to a September 2021 report by the Brookings Institution, “Access to electronic financial services, in particular digital money, has replaced the digital divide as an unintended yet significant barrier for low-income individuals to participate in new technologies. Access to digital payments is more expensive and difficult to obtain for lower-income households and racial minorities despite decades of continuing growth of usage of digital money. (It) is an under-appreciated vector by which technological innovation, both financial and non-financial, can be hindered in reaching certain populations.”  

The governance structure of a DAO represents a potential solution to the numerous barriers faced by Native entrepreneurs in accessing early stage capital. How? It eliminates any intermediary and puts decisions in the hands of its members. We are also optimistic about the potential efficacy of this solution in that it closes the widening digital divide and offers firsthand experience with blockchain technology. 

  • Short-term change will involve increased levels of awareness of 1.) what a DAO is and 2.) how blockchain technology enables a group of people to raise and/or manage funds collectively and with full transparency.

  • Medium-term change will involve engagement among the DAO’s membership towards establishing its purpose(s) and proposing potential sources and uses of available funds.

  • Long-term change will involve higher levels of digital literacy among project participants as well as expedited and expanded access to capital for Native-owned enterprises.

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

The technology used for this project will primarily consist of an open source codebase provided by our partner, Chroma Signet. Chroma’s platform allows creators to attach blockchain-enabled QR codes to products. Consumers of these products are able to receive web3 assets (such as tokens or NFTs) as a reward for purchasing the product.

Chroma Signet has pledged to help us develop a specialized DAO smart contract that can be used to connect to the products and services provided by our members. The DAO will also have the ability to reward their customers with DAO tokens.

After meeting with the community to determine their preferences and needs, NMCC will select the DAO platform that will help members engage with their DAO assets and governance tools. Chroma Signet has extensive experience with a number of DAO platforms and will support us in making this determination. 

Together, Chroma Signet and our chosen open source DAO management platform will constitute the tech platforms needed to execute the project described in this application.

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
  • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
  • Blockchain
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • Internet of Things
  • Software and Mobile Applications

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals

In which countries do you currently operate?

  • United States

In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • United States

In which states do you currently operate?

  • New Mexico

In which states will you be operating within the next year?

  • New Mexico
Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit

How many people work on your solution team?

4 Full-time staff, 2 part-time staff and 3 contractors

How long have you been working on your solution?

We have been working on this solution for over a year.

What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

NMCC is a Native-led and Native-centered organization. Our approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity is fundamental to NMCC’s existence, mission and vision. Everything we do is to uplift the talents of Native American entrepreneurs, both emerging and established. NMCC is led by an Indigenous woman (Executive Director) and a majority of our staff also identify as Indigenous. Earlier this month, NMCC’s board of directors took a significant step by welcoming 4 new members, all of them Native American. Several current non-Native board members will be transitioning off over the next year. 

 Through the proposed pilot project, we hope to employ more Native American entrepreneurs to co-create and indigenize the DAO. This is another aspect of inclusivity that we uphold whenever possible. By adopting a co-creative process, we will build the capacity of its members in the areas of digital and financial literacy while making space to integrate Indigenous ways of knowing.

Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Our organization’s key value proposition is expanding access to and efficacy of physical and digital business development resources and assets. We provide value to Native American entrepreneurs through differentiated contributions to the ecosystem including culturally aligned technical assistance (small group training, 1:1 consultation, referrals to specialists, and sector-specific marketing support for artists and farmers), building trust with community, and sharing power. 

 In terms of the proposed pilot project, we anticipate that the DAO’s beneficiaries (members) will want to participate because of the scarcity of business financing channels available to most Native entrepreneurs. The products that NMCC provides can be a diverse range of Software as a Service (SaaS) that can be compiled into a cooperative model. We will provide these services on a blockchain network that will automate the execution of actions via codes and algorithms that can expedite the process to make funding decisions and transfer resources. 

Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

We will bring financial resources to our work through sustained grants and strategic in-kind donations. Our team is in process developing a Minimum Viable Product DAO structure in collaboration with Chroma Signet, our technology partner. Chroma’s CEO, Marcus Estes has agreed to continue working together and provide in-kind donations to make this happen. We have also identified at least one national philanthropy that is interested in supporting this work. 

 NMCC’s executive leadership believes in the potential of this project and intends to devote the necessary resources and personnel to see it through. We are also optimistic about raising investment capital once the DAO structure is validated. The long term revenue stream would come from administrative fees to running the DAO and its ability to accumulate digital and physical assets. 

Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

NMCC has successfully managed and implemented a number of multi-year grant awards from private philanthropies such as the W.K.Kellogg Foundation as well as federal agencies such as the U.S. Administration for Native Americans and the U.S. Economic Development Administration. We are currently funded by EDA to develop certain components of the DAO ecology including a no-code app called IndigiWork and the online marketplace In addition, in 2021 NMCC secured a significant 5-year award in collaboration with Native Women Lead to develop a waterway of investment funds and tailored technical assistance for Native women entrepreneurs. We believe the proposed DAO solution will complement these resources and help propel their companies forward. 

Solution Team

  • Henry Foreman Program Director, New Mexico Community Capital
to Top