Bilasáana Awarded 10K Grant from American Express

Bilasáana Awarded $10,000 Backing Small Businesses Enhancement Grant through American Express and Main Street America

On Tuesday, June 25, American Express and Main Street America announced the grant recipients for the Backing Small Businesses Grant Program.

Bilasáana, located at 401 West Main Street in Farmington, New Mexico was among the winners.

American Express and Main Street America today announced the 500 small business owners who have been awarded $10,000 through the Backing Small Businesses grant program. The program’s 2024 grant recipients represent U.S. small businesses across all 50 states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico. Later this year, grantees will have the opportunity to apply for an additional $30,000 enhancement grant that will be awarded to 25 small businesses.

Charles Lynch Founder of Bilasáana who works with his Mother Bodine Jones at the store said that he is building a new industry for the People of the Navajo Nation. He is creating traditional jobs for Silversmiths, Weavers, Beaders and Carvers creating Native American Apple Accessories. Also, there is much work for younger Modern Natives in terms of social media, online sales and App Development. Bilasáana has an App that downloads from the App Store called Faceplates that shows Native American images on the Apple Watch face and similar images that can be used as iPhone Wallpaper.

The Company specializes in Native American Sterling Silver Apple Watch bands, leather and beaded watch bands, Apple watch and iPhone charging stands, Leather Air Tag cases and vintage Native American Jewelry. 



President of the Navajo Nation Buu Van Nygren wearing his Bilasaana Apple Watch band

Buu Van Nygren President of the Navajo Nation and several Navajo Nation Council members wear Bilasáana Apple Watch Bands.  

Bilasáana also makes Native American Watch bands and Chargers for Samsung and other Smart Watches.







USA vs Lynch

Lynch mentioned in his grant proposal that he hopes to bring the Navajo Nation and Apple Inc together to expand the company via a diversity investment. Lynch also mentioned in the grant request that he understands the plight of Native Americans better than the average white man as he was under Federal Prosecution for 17 years for operating a City Sanctioned Medical Marijuana dispensary in California and was disenfranchised from jobs and society while he battled it out with the US Government. On April 23, 2024, USA vs Lynch possibly the longest prosecution in World History, was dismissed and Lynch's felony convictions were expunged. In his legal victory Lynch remarked the words of Martin Luther King saying Free at last! Free at Last! While Marijuana stores proliferate across the Nation, Lynch has decided to focus on the Bilasáana project as it is very unique and one-of-a-kind business.



Ronnie Spencer of the Navajo Nation working on a watch bandLynch noted how he will be using the American Express Grant money: 70% of the proceeds will be used to put Native American artists to work creating watch bands, rugs, pottery and jewelry for the company to sell for a profit. 10% will be used for marketing Bilasáana products. 15% will be used to update antiquated business equipment. And 5% will be used to increase inventory of cables and other non-native Apple accessories.

Lynch thanked his Workers, Friends, Family, Supporters, American Express and Main Street America for helping him make Bilasáana a hard-earned dream come true and said there is still much work to do. Lynch has been working on the Bilasaana project since 2015 when the Apple Watch first came to market and opened the Downtown Farmington Store in 2019.

Since launching in 2021, Backing Small Businesses has provided over $9 million in grants to 1,180 small business owners nationwide. American Express and Main Street America initially created the grant program to help economically vulnerable small business owners recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and grow their businesses.

This program is part of American Express’ “Backing Small” initiative to provide financial support and resources to small business owners experiencing economic hardships. Other Backing Small grant programs include Backing Historic Small Restaurants and Backing International Small Restaurants. Backing Small is an extension of American Express’ longstanding commitment to support small independent businesses globally, including through its Shop Small movement and Small Business Saturday campaign, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.

Meet the most recent Backing Small Businesses Enhancement Grant Recipients:

To learn more about the Backing Small Businesses grant program and learn about the grantees, click here.

Bilasaana means Apple in Navajo

Bilasaana means Apple in Navajo. Bilasáana® and Bilasaana® are registered trademarks. Follow @bilasaana on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter) and Tiktok. Order online at or visit the store at 401 West Main Street in Farmington New Mexico. Bilasaana where culture and technology meet.