RuralX is a success for rural South Dakota

Posted on June 20, 2017

Paula Jensen
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The RuralX Summit, organized by Dakota Resources with the help of 57 generous sponsors, was a rural economic and community development summit held in July of 2016 to help rural innovators connect with new ideas, innovative people and forward-thinking collaborations. The two-day event was attended by 222 people who were motivated by:

National rural advocates and celebrated speakers

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Networking with key organizations, resources and rural leaders

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A farm-to-fork dinner celebration with entertainment

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Breakout sessions focused on rural agendas

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Inspirational success stories

The following rural successes were a direct result of the 2016 RuralX Summit and can be attributed to the hard-working, visionary people who came to us representing their communities, their organizations and their dreams.

Two high school boys from Miller, Dylan Fulton and Camden Breitling, attended the RuralX Summit with the help of a scholarship from Dakota Resources. The two boys, who are Youth Leaders for On Hand Development, returned to their community full of ideas, including a small business development idea that took hold in the form of small holiday pop-up shops featuring local makers and their products. The “Cozy Cabin Christmas” project allowed local entrepreneurs to try running a business without committing to brick and mortar buildings, and was met with great enthusiasm and success in the community.

Karla Brozik, Executive Director of the Winner Area Chamber of Commerce and the South Central Development Corporation, took on keynote speaker Emily Pilloton’s challenge to “start something” by helping create a new work skills program for youth in Winner. Winner kicked off the Tripp County Skills for Tomorrow program in January 2017.

Anita Holan, Economic Development Director in Kimball, was inspired to make a difference in Kimball after hearing a motivational talk by John Beranek, a Community Coach at Dakota Resources. She went back to her hometown and urged her City Council to form an Economic Development Board. Anita was also motivated to help launch a Community Development Foundation after connecting with Buddy Seiner from the South Dakota Community Development Foundation at RuralX.

Helen Merriman, Director of SD Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) at Black Hills State University, attended last year’s RuralX Summit to learn, connect and be inspired. She left the event feeling confident about expanding the SD CEO’s Women’s Business Conference to northeast South Dakota. The first inaugural Northeast Women’s Business Conference is planned for March 9, 2018 in Aberdeen, featuring keynote speakers, activities and successful businesswomen.

Nichole Cross attended last summer’s RuralX Summit as a volunteer and was inspired to move forward with her idea to help launch a girl’s maker day after hearing keynote speaker Emily Pilloton. The EmBe Girl’s Maker Day became a reality last October, bringing together a dozen like-minded volunteers, amazing hands-on corporate sponsors and over 150 participants.




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