Glossary of Terms

    An entrepreneur is a business person who assumes well-calculated, action-oriented risks. These individuals tend to exhibit tenacity and an ability to leverage resources to overcome remarkable obstacles. Entrepreneurs may not know everything about their business venture, but somehow they are able either to attract others who do know or to leverage their knowledge, often in resourceful and creative ways. An entrepreneur possesses great passion for his or her vision, and has a personality that attracts others to join in that vision. It is this energy that makes them key drivers in our economy and our social fabric.
    A group of business development professionals from South Dakota and experts from the region worked to together to design the Dakota Rising pilot. This group is continuing to work with Dakota Resources staff to refine the program.
  3. SITE
    A Site is a network of support organized to provide entrepreneurial development services to a defined service area or target population.

      The community is required to develop a clear geographic service area. Some examples of geographic boundaries could be a county, a partnership of two or three towns to create a region, an Indian reservation, or simply a predetermined mileage perimeter around a town. All definitions are acceptable, but it is important that the definition be clear and the Site have a sense of community and collaboration. The business of a Fellowship applicant must be located within a clearly defined geographic boundary.
      Membership organizations or organizations providing services to rural people may apply to become a Dakota Rising Site. The Fellowship applicant must document that they have been a member of the Site organization for a minimum of three months prior to the time of application or that they have received services from the Site organization within the past twelve months. Some examples may include a trade organization, one serving home-based businesses or wineries.
    Each Site will be co-lead by a Champion, someone who can inspire others to action and network well both within and outside the community. This person should be charismatic, committed and tenacious enough to provide citizen leadership to make this program a success. A Champion must have a history of investing in the community and bringing people together. The Champion will be someone with whom others will want to work and who inspires others to their vision.
    The second leader for each Site is the Coordinator. This can be the same person as the Champion, but does not have to be. The Coordinator is responsible for implementing the details and organizing participants to run the program. This person must be dedicated, committed, and tenacious enough to lead a great program and be especially good at coordinating and communicating details. It is helpful if he or she has a history of community involvement and bringing people together, although organizational and communication skills are more critical. This individual should be someone with whom others are excited to work.
    Each Site will organize a Resource Team to provide guidance for the community’s program and to entrepreneurs. An effective team should show diversity in the expertise of its members (i.e. banker, educator, established entrepreneur, technical assistance provider, accountant, etc.). Ideally, the team would be made up of people from the public and private sectors. Team members, as individuals, will have a history of citizen involvement, investing in the community and working well with people within and outside the community. These team members will be able to provide beneficial support and advice to community entrepreneurs and should represent a cross section of the demographics of the community. Team members will help with recruitment efforts, provide encouragement to entrepreneurs and review all entrepreneur applications.
    All Sites that are finalists in the site-selection process are invited to a meeting of program sponsors and participants. At that gathering, each Site is paired with a Site Coach, an individual who is available to provide feedback on the initial Site application. The Site Coach will be an advocate for the Site and will provide greater support to strengthen the application in preparation for the final review.
    Selected Dakota Rising Sites are responsible for recruiting, nurturing, and cultivating entrepreneur applicants. One key tool for recruitment efforts will be hosting an Entrepreneurs’ Fair, a gathering of technical assistance providers and financial assistance experts available to support and encourage entrepreneurs. This one-day event is intended to create easy access to a network of information for those entrepreneurs interested in growing their businesses. Some examples of invitees might be the loan officer from the bank branch, an established and successful entrepreneur, or a Small Business Development Center counselor. The idea is to invite people who have expertise, resources, or capital that will be useful to an entrepreneur. Invitees might want to set up booths from which participants can gather information or ask one-on-one questions. Another format is to have invitees present short workshops or presentations. Each Site can customize the event based on its own network, style, and community, keeping in mind that the intent is to strengthen the support network available to entrepreneurs.
    Fellows will be selected from the pool of applicants representing the Sites. Each Fellow will participate in a larger community built around entrepreneurship and will receive $10,000 to be used for learning and professional development. Each Fellow will be have access to a team of Mentors, preferably one from within that Fellow’s industry, and will participate in a Peer Advisory Board. The Fellowship, which is a three-year commitment, will be a safe environment from which to explore new ideas, grow professionally, and strengthen ventures.
    Each applicant will be paired with a Mentor to refine final application. Once selected, each Fellow will have access to a team of Mentors that can be accessed on an as-needed and as-available basis for the duration of the Fellowship. The Mentor is there to be a sounding board for new ideas, and to provide some level of expertise for the business venture. Mentors attend the Annual Fellows’ Conference and participate in Cohort convenings by invitation.
    Each Fellow will be placed on a four-member Cohort, comprised of other Fellows. The Cohort will meet quarterly and review each other’s progress toward specific goals. Cohorts will be available to ask probing questions and to hold each Fellow to the highest standards for the sake of the business. Mentors can be invited to participate in Cohort discussions when appropriate and when their presence will enhance the quality of the discussion.
    Dakota Rising was founded on the profound belief that entrepreneurs tend to be change-makers. Change may not occur with this venture or at this time, but impassioned entrepreneurs will eventually make their mark. By investing deeply into their leadership through Professional Development, Dakota Rising partners believe that we are investing in the future change-makers for our state. Professional Development can take the form of formal education, such as a class or workshop, or involve hiring a Professional Business Coach to advise better strategies and approaches to problem solving. Sometimes the best investment is hiring a consultant to develop a specific aspect of the business or to do a marketing plan.
    South Dakota has a statewide network of organizations involved in economic development and entrepreneurship. Representatives from many of the key organizations have been involved in the design of Dakota Rising largely because of their interest in strengthening the State Network around a common focus. Fellows will have the benefit of accessing this organized State Network and hopefully will be able to leverage greater resources, information and capital.