Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

Cloud Nine Recycling

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What is the name of your solution?

Beautification: One Car at a Time

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Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

Eliminating junk cars from residences throughout the reservation to beautify the landscape

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

On the reservation there is a problem with abandoned junk vehicles littering the landscape from residential areas to desert regions. Cloud Nine Recycling, a native owned business, solution is to engage individuals to recycle these vehicles to beautify neighborhoods and communities and restore the beauty of the surroundings. 

The scale of the problem is vast and includes whole communities and in most  neighborhoods abandoned vehicles are a common sight in thus whole communities are affected. In the remotest parts of the reservation junk vehicles litter the natural landscape in pristine areas. 

Factors that contribute to this problem is that there is no formal business on the reservation that provides this service consistently. Cloud Nine Recycling (CNR) is a native owned business that can provide services to the individuals in need of our services.

Native Americans have long practiced recycling by reusing items that were hunted or gathered and recycling automobiles is a continuation of that practice.  

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What is your solution?

CNRs process is to engage individuals in need of our services by social media, advertising and word of mouth to locate vehicles. We have been successful in locating vehicles however in order to become more effective in our solution is to transport as many vehicles as possible. This can occur by expanding services to transport multiple vehicles which will make a greater impact. The demand is great throughout the reservation and CNR is currently unable to keep up with the demand. 

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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?

The target population reside on the Hopi and Navajo reservations primarily on the western Navajo Nation and Hopu. These are individuals who have no resources to help rid their premises of unwanted vehicles. By engaging these people from a beautification rationale, we would like to give the people of a sense of decluttering and letting go of these unwanted items not a business transaction. Hopefully this will give the people a sense of empowerment to recognize the value of beautification and the value of our services. 

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

CNR is a owned by Tyler Tawahongva a lifelong resident of Tuba City and a member of the Hopi Tribe. We could be considered the target population by the fact that I also have had vehicles that cluttered my area. CNR has been in the recycling busines for approximately seven years in this area and have engaged with the community and know the needs of the community. Mr. Tawahongva's approach is to help people recognize the concept of "cluttering and Hoarding" and to empower people to make the decisions to address this in their own locale. Most communities acknowledge the problem in their towns or villages however are not empowered  to address these solutions due to apathy or lack of resources available to them. By giving them a resource the dialogue can be initiated to start addressing the needs of the communities.  

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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Tuba City, AZ, USA
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Our solution's stage of development:

Growth
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How many people does your solution currently serve?

I currently serve mostly residence of Tuba City area population of ten thousand plus.

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Why are you applying to Solve?

CNR has been in a startup phase of business for approximately the last seven years. We have begun to expand and with that there is a potential to grow exponentially. CNR is in need of direction and guidance to grow out of the grassroots level of existence to become a formidable to presence in the communities we serve. obviously financial support is important however CNR is in great need of mentorship and consultation to make sure the growth is done in a prudent manner. Th Navajo and Hopi reservation has a combined land base of approximately 100,000 acres and in three states we could potentially have an impact throughout this area on and off the Navajo and Hopi nations.  

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

  • Business model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Legal or Regulatory Matters
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)
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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Tyler Tawahongva Owner

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Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your Team Lead.

Hopi

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Is the Team Lead a resident of the United States?

Yes

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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.

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More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

Currently there is no large-scale removal of junk vehicles. There may be individuals that privately remove vehicles however CNR's solution is to remove vehicles on a larger scale. We currently are removing vehicles one at a time, our hope is to transport multiple vehicles with the procurement of the proper equipment. The catalyst is to empower individuals to make the decision to let go of these vehicles and recognize the value of beautification. People have a tendency to hold on to items for one reason or another, CNR would like to bring an understanding that there is no value in vehicles to sit in their premises and appreciate the value of beautification. It may not necessarily change the market since our work is dictated by the market however the broader impacts may be that communities may be empowered to encourage individuals to take action and engage more and more individuals to remove unwanted vehicles. Positive impact will be the overall awareness and the availability of the services we offer to communities with the emphasis on beautification.  

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

Currently in any given neighborhood in my community and others throughout the reservation each yard may contain at least one vehicle that needs to be removed. Within the next year and five years we hope to continue to make an impact on people's lives by beautifying their areas and creating "sacred space" that was cluttered previously with unwanted vehicles. This in itself impact whole neighborhoods consciously and subconsciously with the removal of clutter it becomes an ongoing symbiosis. By removing as many vehicles as we can, that is the plan that will make the most impact. The bigger the scale the more impact that we can make. CNR motto is "to keep items out of the landfills and deserts" car removal is just another aspect of that which  actually hits even more closer to home. 

Overall, the impact goal is to eliminate as many vehicles as possible for those that are in need of this service. Because we are in a rural area this type of service is not available on the reservation however CNR would like to represent itself as  a beacon of Beautification.

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

This is an area that CNR would need some assistance to measure progress relevant too capturing data. Our current approach hasn't developed a data collection method which would track the solution and impacts being made. I am confident that SOLVE could help us establish some system.

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What is your theory of change?

Because our work is more pragmatic and may not be as complex as some SOLVE solutions the reality is that the more vehicles, we are able to remove from areas the impact is immediate like pulling a abscessed tooth the change and impact is immediate. The problem is a reflection of some spiritual malady akin to hoarding so in effect our solution entails a sense of healing. 

Our mission statement is the basis of our activities, outputs and outcomes as opposed to a approach which entails financial gain. In the long term we may be able to provide services to remove other waste that are cluttering personal areas such as scrap metal or general waste. CNR has been operating on this mission  for the past 7 years and has been successful as a recycling business by accepting white goods for recycling when previously individuals tended to dump items in the outlying desert regions. Since our inception the impact has been profound there is less items being discarded in local areas that were clearly visible. 

Our activities have empowered some communities on Navajo and Hopi nations to initiate their own local cleanup activities. In Tuba City there was a big initiative to beautify which has made a positive impact on the community within the last few years. I believe CNR model could be effectively initiated in other places with the same results. 

Our approach is a more grass roots approach as opposed to bureaucratic approach which tends to be the process of many governmental entities on the reservation. This unique approach allows us to work outside of these parameters which actually impede progress, with this continued approach we can continue to make positive impacts. Although altruistic in a sense I believe we can create a balance to become I believe stewardship is the change we are relying to persevere. 

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our work doesn't rely heavily on standard technology except for social networking and phone networking however the traditional technology of stewardship of the earth has been a basis of our work. There is innately a sense of recycling brought upon by thousands of years of existence for native people. We recognize that as an ancient technology we used everything that was given from, for example  a hunted animal. the meat, fur and bones were used for different purposes. Unfortunately, with the advent of western technology we have become adept at using this recycling or reuse traditional technology to the disadvantage of our surroundings. We now are saving items that have no value and accumulating it or disposing of it in the worst ways in our premises as well as outlying areas of the desert. 

As a Hopi there has always been an understanding of stewardship however it has been difficult to address in the scope of western ideology. In my own process I recognize that I may hold on to items that may have no inherent value. This may reflect from a traditional sense of using everything from a hunted animal however the items now that are retained are not biodegradable and are permanent so therefore the process to remove takes on another level of understanding and our mission statement is the driving force to look at it as a stewardship technology not a business venture. This is the ancient technology of recycling and reusing that has resulted in the problem likewise is the solution to the problem.

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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Internet of Things
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 15. Life on Land
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals
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In which countries do you currently operate?

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

  • United States
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In which states do you currently operate?

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

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • New Mexico
  • Utah
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Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models

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How many people work on your solution team?

1 Team Lead and 1 sub contractor

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How long have you been working on your solution?

5 years

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

In our line of work we have had the opportunity to work with diverse cultures. I am Hopi however live amongst the Navajo people. The markets where I sell items are usually staffed with Hispanic people as well as Anglo people. 

We have found that we have established relationships and broken barriers. One is the fact, I believe CNR us the only native owned recycling business registered with the State of Arizona. This staus gives a different level of diversity to major companies in metropolitan Phoenix who's clientele are mainly Anglo and Hispanic so we have made our presence known to the recycling industry as a Native business.

Our clientele includes both Navajo and Hopi people so we have a respect for the cultures of each people and proceed accordingly. There are certain nuances we always need to be cognizant of when interacting with individuals however as a Hopi man my view on diversity no way alienates anyone.

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

CNR started as a part time business buying aluminum cans in Tuba City. It has evolves into a small business during its inception there was a great concern in the community regarding illegal dumping. CNR may have been a catalyst with its work independently with much press coverage. Here is a radio piece that was broadcast on NPR https://www.npr.org/2015/09/03...

CNR evolved into a recycling business recycling cardboard, aluminum, copper, metal and accepting white goods to prevent disposal in the desert. 

The business model started as a sole proprietorship with the assistance of the the Native American Business Incubator Network we were able get a direction as a start up business at a grass roots level. CNR had a very successful year in 2021 recycling car parts and with the purchase of a vehicle have started to haul junk car vehicles. 

Our strength is perseverance and I belive a weakness is organizational capacity. CNR still functions at a start up level however with recent successes we are now in a position to expand with our ability to haul vehicles it has opened a new direction and promises a new direction to anchor our growth. 

CNR still relies on standard recycling items such as cans, copper, aluminum, brass and even plastic bottles. We still accept white items for recycling at no cost however this grass roots approach may not be the optimum to realize self sustainable. In a community that is near poverty level it is hard to determine when and where  to start charging a fee. We are at a crossroads in our business model where we have determined our target and impacts however we are ready to grow out of the start up phase and launch into an  expansion phase. 

I believe with the help of a formidable ally such as SOLVE we can make that transition prudently. 

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

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)
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What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

After 2021 CNR has become financially viable by concentrating on revenue atreams that are more viable. As a small business the goal is to become financially sustainable however as a sole proprietorship it has been difficult due to the fact it literally is a "sole" person Tyler Tawahongva maneuvering the course which poses challenges such as a staff to develop a sound financial discourse as well as a team that is functioning consistently. CNR has faces and still faces many challenges to overcome some nuances that maybe others outside the reservation may or may not experience. Employee retention is one aspect that is extremely difficult to overcome, due to the nature of the work and the dysfunctional work force available it has been difficult to get people to work with us consistently.

Our growth is based on the Team leads sense of purpose in the mission which has sustained us to this point. We believe we are ready to take that next step forward in line with the mission of CNR and to become a formidable presence in the Navajo and Hopi nations and beyond.

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

CNR started as a part time businesa with no senae of direction except to gemerate income to support my unemployed wife. Once she became employes Tyler took over the enterprise and took the same approach however it became no longer self sustaining on the verge of discontinuing a funding source from Trees, Water and People, of approximately ten thousand dollars became available and allowed us to continue our work. Since then CNR has sustained itself through generating revenue from recyclable items received. 

By expanding out territory to outside the Tuba City area we can be assured that we can be guaranteed financial stability based on the fact the model has proven to be effective to this point. Albeit market prices influences the bottom line we believe with proper guidance and direction as well as financial support from any available source to expand would guarantee success.

With the addition of vehicle recycling we have tapped into a new revenue source that seems to be a definite continued revenue stream. In order to reach that level SOLVE I believe voukd and would lhelp us launch  into our next phase if expansion. 

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Solution Team

 
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