Site Selection Criteria

Dakota Rising will evaluate each community’s and/or targeted population’s application prior to selection.  Selection is based upon the following criteria:

Defined Market
Community and Site may be defined by geographic service area OR an organization that serves a targeted rural population. Each applicant must clearly define their market.

  • Rural Geographic Service Area – 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, a Native American 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 demonstrates a sense of community and collaboration. This service area will be the region of focus for the Site’s broader efforts to support entrepreneurs and business owners.  The designated service area is important for the Fellowship program because an applicant’s business must be located within this clearly defined geographic boundary.
  • Targeted Rural Population – Membership organizations or organizations providing services to rural people may apply to become a Dakota Rising Site. The target market served by the organization must be clearly defined and the organization should demonstrate a commitment to supporting the business development aspirations of its members or target population.
    In order to have a member considered for a Fellowship, the 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, home-based businesses, or wineries.

    Businesses served by the organization must be located outside of Sioux Falls or Rapid City.

    1. Great Champion and Great Coordinator

    Champion:   Each applicant must be able to identify a great potential Champion — someone who can inspire others to action and have the ability to network well, both within and outside the community. This person should be charismatic, committed, and tenacious enough to provide the citizen leadership to make this program a success. He or she must have a history of investing in the community and bringing people together. The Champion should be someone with whom others will want to work.

    Coordinator:   The Coordinator can be the same person as the Champion, but does not have to be. A great potential Coordinator keeps the program organized and moving forward. 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.

    2. Diverse and Dedicated  Leadership Team and Broad-based Collaboration and Community Investment

    Each community will organize a Leadership Team to provide guidance and assistance in implementing the program. An effective team should show diversity in the expertise of its members. Ideally, the team would be made up of people from the public and private sectors. They, as individuals, must have a history of community or economic development, investing in the community and working well with people within and outside the community to get things done. These team members should be able to provide practical support and advice to carry out the activities of Dakota Rising and they should represent a cross section of the community.

    The applicant community should have a history of collaboration as well as a history of investing in itself and accessing opportunities. The community should demonstrate a commitment to providing support for businesses as part of its overall approach to economic development, a willingness to support and assist in the growth of entrepreneurs and be able to show examples of how residents and organizations have collaborated to invest in a better future.

    3. Diverse and Dedicated Resource Team

    Each community will organize a Resource Team to provide support to entrepreneurs and business owners. An effective team would include representatives from economic development and business support organizations as well as individuals who represent different business competencies (i.e. finance, human resources, legal, marketing, etc.).  In addition to business competencies, members of the team should have an understanding of or direct business experience. Team members should have a history of investing back into the community with their time and talents. These team members should be able to provide beneficial support and advice to entrepreneurs in the community.

    4. Market For an Entrepreneurial Support System: Pipeline of Entrepreneurs

    Applicants must provide evidence that a pipeline of entrepreneurs exists in the community.  This pipeline should include young aspiring entrepreneurs, new startups, current entrepreneurs and business owners, and those with strong growth aspirations. Since Dakota Rising is designed as a transformational, long-term program, the Site must show that there are entrepreneurs throughout the pipeline, including potential Fellowship applicants, who would be an asset to the program in the initial year and years to come.

    5. Evidence of Investment

    Each of the sites selected will demonstrate the ability to make an investment to become a part of the Dakota Rising community. This investment will be in two parts: $3 – 5,000 will be payable to Dakota Resources for training, tools, professional development and other entrepreneur development services. At a minimum, an equal match (cash and/or in-kind) must be invested within the Site to implement entrepreneur development strategies and systems.

    6. Opportunity: Value of the Program to the Community

    Dakota Rising is looking for Sites that will contribute to the learning of the initiative. Each community selected should contribute something unique which will add to the learning and will teach us something critical or beneficial for the future of entrepreneur development in South Dakota.

    This program is designed to leverage greater opportunity within each community and not duplicate any existing services already available. Each potential site will need to give evidence that this program will be a critical asset to their community and it will help to leverage key resources and opportunities. Each site should provide a brief assessment or inventory of the entrepreneurial support resources within the community already and some discussion of how those resources will be connected to Dakota Rising.

    7. Well-defined System for Measuring Community Impacts (Social, Environmental, and Economic)

    During the application process, it is important that the Site demonstrate consideration of a measurement system and identify initial measures of success. Support for continued refinement of the measurement system will be part of the services provided through Dakota Rising.

    The Leadership Team must develop clear and measurable criteria for evaluating the impact of the Dakota Rising initiative on the community. These impacts should include the impacts of any Fellows located in the community as well as the impacts associated with the broader entrepreneurial support efforts undertaken as part of Dakota Rising. In thinking about how you would measure success, each community should consider how its social, environmental, and economic goals may influence economic development choices. For example, what would the community’s stand be on supporting entrepreneurs and business owners operating in certain industries, i.e. pawn shops and casinos? Would the community welcome and encourage an entrepreneur running a waste management business? Are there certain business-sectors that community members want to encourage over others?

    The measures chosen should reflect the values of the community. At the same time, they should be objective and measurable. For example, some communities might focus primarily on economic outcomes, such as jobs created, increased business revenues, increased wages, and increased local tax revenues. Others may want to focus on encouraging Main Street businesses and measure the local sales captured by the community. Communities could even focus on helping growth businesses connect to new markets and may choose to track increased sales outside the local, state or national markets.

    8. Initiative: Evidence of Ongoing Participation and Engagement in the Program

    The ideal site will effectively communicate with Dakota Rising staff and be an agreeable partner. The Leadership Team will actively participate in the program and fully access resources and share results. Although “Initiative” is not addressed in the application, the communities will be evaluated on their face-to-face interaction with Dakota Rising staff and their perceived willingness to engage in the program. Sites commit for three years with an annual recertification review.