Welcome to Dakota Rising

Dakota Rising cultivates entrepreneurs dedicated to growing themselves and their businesses by connecting them to a system of support, resulting in economic growth. We commit resources to the creation of environments that support and nurture entrepreneurs and people engaged in rural businesses.


Community Sites

We partner with local community groups (Community Sites) which are led by a local Coordinator and driven by a local Resource Team. Together, we develop a system of support for entrepreneurial development by introducing tools and strategies for:

  • Nurturing a pool of entrepreneurial and small business talent through business visitation, community outreach and youth activities.
  • Networking resources through resource fairs, mentoring connections, and bringing together resource partners, business leaders and entrepreneurs statewide.
  • Building community support through heightened public awareness of the value local entrepreneurs and business people add to the community by sharing entrepreneurs’ and community success stories, collaborating with other community organizations, and seeking resource and financial assistance for the Dakota Rising Entrepreneur Development System.

These Community Sites apply to be part of the Dakota Rising network and, when accepted, they are supported by Dakota Resources staff, the Dakota Rising network, and the national experts in entrepreneur development systems to develop successful rural entrepreneur development systems and business retention expansion strategies.


The Dakota Rising Entrepreneur Fellowship drives the Dakota Rising system. When interested in a Fellowship, entrepreneurs who are supported by a Site submit an Intent to Apply, which activates connections to a variety of resources. Value is added to the entrepreneur at every step of the selection process. This results in a complex system that nurtures a pool of entrepreneurial talent, cultivates existing entrepreneurs, networks resources, and builds ongoing community support.

There are three steps of the selection process before being awarded a Fellowship: Intent to Apply, Applicant and Finalist. Each of these levels, and those awarded a Fellowship, have:

  • Been recognized as adding value to their communities.
  • Connected with the local development community.
  • Been introduced and have the potential to form ongoing relationships with local, regional, and statewide resources.
  • Written professional and business growth plans.

Finalists, in addition to the above benefits, are also paired with a mentor to improve their business plans.

When chosen as a Fellow, each entrepreneur makes a three-year commitment and receives $10,000 for professional and business development. The greatest value of the Fellowship is the peer support available from each entrepreneur’s four-member Cohort, comprised of other Fellows that hold each other accountable for personal and business development.


Dakota Rising has impacted Fellows and their communities in the following ways:

  • Increased total business assets
  • Increased business revenues
  • New full-time jobs
  • Full-time employees earning over $13.93/hour (South Dakota rural living wage)
  • New permanent part-time positions
  • Financial and human involvement in local business and entrepreneurship
  • Leadership and participation by entrepreneurs in the community
  • Awareness of the value of local entrepreneurs and small business people to the community

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 for more information about the Dakota Rising Program

Click here to view a video explaining the Dakota Rising program