Two-Year Program To Help Boost Rural Communities

Posted on November 30, 2017

Paula Jensen
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Tyra Gefroh Photography of Britton is one of eight South Dakota businesses that have been selected for a 2017 Dakota Rising Fellowship.

Over 100 entrepreneurs across rural South Dakota applied for the opportunity to be part of the unique Dakota Rising Fellowship, an experience designed to help rural business owners discover new ways to grow their businesses, themselves and their communities. A Dakota Rising Fellow is a person who has taken a start-up business to a viable, profit-earning stage and is poised for the next level of growth.

Gefroh’s two-year experience with the impactful rural entrepreneur development program will allow her to be part of a vibrant network of Dakota Rising fellows and alumni. She will also have access to leadership coaching, valuable tools and resources, empowering fellowship retreats, strategic business advice, and a $10,000 grant to use for personal and business development.

“I am excited and honored to be a part of Dakota Rising,” said Gefroh, “and I’m looking forward to growing my business and growing personally as a business owner by networking with other entrepreneurs.”

Gefroh graduated from Britton-Hecla in 2009 and then attended Ridgewater College in Willmar, MN, graduating with a degree in professional photography and technology. Her goal was always to have her own photography studio.

As owner of Tyra Gefroh Photography that started in January of 2014, Gefroh provides portrait photography specializing in weddings, seniors, and families. Her goal is to grow her business into more regular school and sport photography accounts, hire additional employees, and become a mentor for upcoming entrepreneurs.

She recently moved to a new location in the former Schumaker Home Furnishings building located on the west edge of Britton.

Gefroh is the second businesswoman from Britton to receive the fellowship in the past two years. Hillarey Holland, owner of HH Design in Britton, is in the second year of the program. Former Britton resident Kristin Bennett was also one of the first Dakota Rising Fellows in 2009.

Other members of the class of new Dakota Rising Fellows includes the following rural entrepreneurs: Erin Beyke, Erin Beyke Agency, Canton; Jen and Andy Holst, Embroidery & Screen Works, Yankton; Tanya Olson and Matt Fridell, Tallgrass Landscape Architecture, Custer; Kirsten Gjesdal, The Carrot Seed Kitchen Company, Brookings; Seth Koch and Brant Mathiason, Wooden Legs Brewing Company, Brookings; Amber and Jamey Nehring, Renatus Woodworking, Sturgis; and Jamie Ellenwood, Badlands Trading Company, Rapid Valley.

Personal and business growth strategies are developed while working in a small group where Fellows help one another, despite vastly different industries and experiences. The underlying theme of the program is to cultivate entrepreneurs dedicated to growing themselves and their businesses by connecting them to a system of support, resulting in economic growth for the community.

Gefroh encouraged other area entrepreneurs to consider applying for the program. Information is available at the Dakota Resources web site.

“We had an amazing response to this year’s Dakota Rising Fellowship opportunity,” says Beth Davis, President of Dakota Resources. “Selecting the winners from such an impressive field of candidates was difficult. Our new class of Fellows comes from all across the state with vastly different backgrounds. We are confident these rural entrepreneurs are going to do great things for themselves and for their communities.”

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