Annual Event Honors Rural Business & Community

Posted on October 10, 2016

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Dakota Rising Honors Rural Entrepreneurs and Rural Communities at Annual Event

Small business is a big deal in South Dakota. To celebrate this fact, Dakota Resources engaged rural entrepreneurs and communities in learning and sharing the common vision of leadership, community growth, and business expansion during the annual Dakota Rising Empower! Conference at the Spearfish Holiday Inn Convention Center, which was held October 6-8.
This year’s conference welcomed ten new rural entrepreneurs into the Dakota Rising Fellowship, which is a three-year initiative designed to help them accelerate the growth of their businesses. This group of exceptional second-stage entrepreneurs includes: Ruth Bouza, Custom Touch & Limo, LLC, Wagner; Brad Hahn and Jay Yohner, Pioneer Building, Martin; Jenni Tucker, Help-U-Rent, Spearfish; Curt Lout, Mammoth Handcrafted Signs, Hot Springs; Rachael Woods, Apparel WorX, Wagner; Hillary Holland, HH Designs, Britton; Carrie Kuhl and Renee Halgerson, Hitch Studios, Brookings; and Julie Fishbach, Mainstream Boutique, Aberdeen.
Dakota Rising also graduated seven successful South Dakota business owners, Monte Amende and Dustin Floyd, TDG Communications, Deadwood; Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel, Lotus Up Espresso & Deli of Lead; Melanie Hoke, Burger Shack of Faulkton; Lisa Mueller, Mueller Therapeutic Massage of Faulkton; Cheryl Schaefers, Cheryl’s Catering Service of Orient; and Ron Waldner, Snowflake Metalworks of Whitewood.
The current Dakota Rising rural communities were also celebrated for their support of local businesses and fostering economic growth. Southern Charles Mix County, Faulkton, Southern Hills (Fall River and Custer Counties) and Lawrence County have each developed successful entrepreneur development ecosystems and business retention/expansion strategies for their communities and have recruited numerous entrepreneur Fellows since joining the program. The honored 2016 Innovative Community of the Year was Faulkton.
The Dakota Rising Gala featured keynote speaker was Scott Stern, who was recently appointed Commissioner of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and has also served as a Dakota Rising mentor. Scott is from Freeman, South Dakota, where he was vice president and general manager of his family’s company, Stern Oil, before taking a position with Petro-Canada America as a district sales manager.
Dakota Rising was launched in 2008 by Dakota Resources and has since awarded Fellowships to over fifty rural entrepreneurs. These ambitious business owners were able to fast-track their business growth through the Dakota Rising Fellowship and take advantage of the insight, ideas and experience of other Fellows and leading business mentors from across the region.
For more information about Dakota Resources or the Dakota Rising Initiative, please contact Beth Davis at or call (605) 978-2804.

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