DRI Logo 2015

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Check this list to see if you might qualify to be part of Dakota Rising, an amazing initiative designed to help rural entrepreneurs boost their businesses and impact their communities. The experience is amazing — and the $10,000 grant isn’t bad either.


 1. Are you looking for a network of like-minded people you can turn to for advice and inspiration?

2. Do you feel isolated or alone in your role as a rural entrepreneur?

3. Would you like to know how other rural entrepreneurs build success?

4. Would you benefit from an expanded network of resources, tools and people to help you grow your business?

5. Do you own a business located outside of Rapid City or Sioux Falls?

6. Do you have at least one employee (part- or full-time) or hire contract labor? (some exceptions apply)

7. Has your business progressed beyond survival or filed a tax return for at least two years?

8. Are you able to participate in motivational entrepreneur gatherings approximately 12 days each year?

If you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions, you probably have what it takes to be a Dakota Rising Fellow. If you are ready to get started with the application process, contact us today by phone: (605) 978-2964 or online.

Download the Dakota Rising Application Brochure here. Applications are being accepted August 1 through September 15, 2016.

What is Dakota Rising?

Dakota Rising is a Dakota Resources program that helps rural entrepreneurs discover new ways to grow their business. Dakota Rising mentors entrepreneurs who have passion, drive, and a will to take their companies to the next level. The program’s goal is to help businesses all over rural South Dakota become more successful, put more people in their community to work, and help entrepreneurs better manage their businesses so they don’t burn out.  Dakota Rising strategically partners with local communities to help entrepreneurs and business people grow their businesses.

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A Network for growth

The Dakota Rising program was launched in 2008 by Dakota Resources and has since mentored dozens of entrepreneurs who have accelerated their business growth and have taken advantage of the insight, ideas and experience of other Fellows. The Dakota Rising community meets four times a year for three-day conferences, in addition to online meetings. The sharing among Fellows grows companies and grows a Fellow’s business confidence. Becoming a Fellow adds a level of accountability that encourages you to take action. Fellows receive assistance from their closest Dakota Rising community site, as well as from Dakota Resources. The South Dakota economy relies on the growth of small businesses like yours, and Dakota Rising can help you accelerate that growth. Are you ready to grow?  The first step is the Dakota Rising application.


What is a Dakota Rising Fellow?

A Dakota Rising Fellow is a person who has taken a startup business to a viable, profit-earning stage and is poised for the next level of growth. After successfully completing the application process, and being chosen, Fellows are connected to a community of statewide resources, mentors, and financial experts. Personal and business growth strategies are developed while working in a small cohort where Fellows help one another, despite vastly different industries and experiences. After one year in the program, each Fellow is awarded a $10,000 grant to support professional growth and business expansion.  Click here for more information about the Dakota Rising Fellowship.

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What is the Fellow application process?

Past Dakota Rising applicants contend that the application process alone is enough to get them thinking more strategically about growing their business. The application includes an executive summary, a business plan, and questions about leadership qualities. Assistance with the application is available statewide from a Small Business Development Center near you.

  • A staff member of Dakota Resources will contact you within 2 business days of receiving your request for information to determine eligibility.
  • If eligibility requirements are met, you will receive a link to the 2016 Dakota Rising Entrepreneur Fellowship Application.  Applications for the 2016 round must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. CDT on September 15, 2016.
  • Your application will be reviewed by the Fellowship Selection Team, made up of Dakota Resources Staff and Dakota Rising Fellowship Alumni, all of whom have signed Confidentiality Agreements.
  • If you are selected as a Finalist, you will be invited to set up a booth about your business and be interviewed at the 2016 Dakota Rising Conference in Spearfish on October 8, 2016.  Fellows will be announced at the Gala that evening.

Fellowship Application is open August 1, 2016 – September 15, 2016.

People have always been South Dakota’s greatest asset. South Dakotans know how to work hard and work together to grow our economy — and the hands of many can accomplish the vision of one. South Dakota’s history was built one barn at a time and our future will be strengthened one innovative business at a time. Today, we’ll work together and help our Dakota communities rise.

Click here to view the video

What is a Dakota Rising Community Site?

A Dakota Rising Community is a vital component of the program.  It provides entrepreneurial development resources to a defined service area or target population. Communities nurture a pool of entrepreneurs and business owner talent, network resources and build community support. Communities are certified annually to be members of the Dakota Rising network.  Dakota Rising Community Sites create a culture of confidence that cultivates business growth within the community by implementing the strategies and tools of the Entrepreneur Development System.  Click here for more information about Dakota Rising Community Sites.


Why become a Dakota Rising Community Site?

Increase the:

  • Wealth in the community
  • Employment opportunities
  • Community leadership and engagement
  • Recognition and value of existing businesses to local economies



Updates @ Dakota Resources

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