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RuralX17 keynote speaker Jason Roberts
Jason Roberts wants you to build a better block in your rural community. And he’s just the guy to tell you how to do it.
As the co-founder of The Better Block Project, a neighborhood revitalization effort that won him the Champions of Change award from the White House in 2012, Jason’s ideas and visions for bringing life back into dying neighborhoods have become a national movement around the globe.
“It all started when some friends and I decided to build our dream neighborhood block in 24-hours using less than $1,000,” he explains. “Simply by adding things like a bike lane, string lights, flowers, outdoor tables, pop-up shops and incorporating local art and music, it became a place people wanted to be.”
From there, The Better Block initiative became an international movement and has been featured in the NY … Read More »
OpenX brings women to the table for an exciting new event in Aberdeen
What started as an OpenX topic at last summer’s RuralX Summit has evolved into the inaugural Northeast Women’s Business Conference next spring.
The idea to host the women’s conference was inspired by Helen Merriman, Director of SD Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) at Black Hills State University. Helen was attending RuralX as a way to connect with more resources and entrepreneurial thinkers across the state.
“As director of the only Women’s Business Center in South Dakota, I am always looking for new ways to connect with more people,” she explains. “I hosted an OpenX table conversation to see if there was any interest in holding a women’s business conference in northeast South Dakota, and the women at my table showed significant interest. We were able to identify nine women … Read More »
From bakers to builders, there are all kinds of entrepreneurs in this world. Our Dakota Rising Fellows are a diverse group, but they quickly bond over the shared passions and challenges of being rural business owners. No matter what business you bring to the table, you will be part of something truly special as a Dakota Rising Fellow — just check out the esteemed list of entrepreneurs you’ll be joining, if you apply.
FOOD AND DRINK
Burger Shack | Melanie Hoke, Faulkton
Cheryl’s Catering Service | Cheryl Schaefers, Polo
Crow Peak Brewing Company | Josh Fritz and Jeff Drumm, Spearfish
Hot Springs Vault | Cristin Stewart, Hot Springs
Lotus Up Espresso and Deli | Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel, Lead
The Cake Lady | Cheryl Swatek, Wagner
Vanilla Bean Bakery | Peg Austin, Spearfish
Wild Dutchman Products | Tobey Vander Laan, Mound City
FLORAL AND LANDSCAPING
Dakota Greens of Custer | Jeff Prior, Custer
The most recent class of Dakota Rising Fellowship graduates were asked to reflect on their fellowship experience and to compare their original goals to their actual outcomes. Their hard work and commitment to the three-year program is evident in their answers, and their belief in the value of Dakota Rising makes us proud. We thank these amazing rural business owners for supporting one another and our mission of engaging, empowering and supporting entrepreneurs and local businesses.
DAKOTA RISING GOALS
» Purchase a new heating and cooling system
» Enclose patio and pursue being open year-round
» Increase sales $30,000-$40,000 per year
» Learn to use P.O.S. software instead of hand writing everything
» Become a bigger and better resource for the community and school—hire more people, teenagers, etc.
AFTER DAKOTA RISING
» Became a year-round business after the first year in … Read More »