Thirty-five participants, consisting of native entrepreneurs and organizations that provide services to entrepreneurs attended the first ever Entrepreneur Fair (E-Fair) held in Pickstown, South Dakota earlier this month.
The E-Fair was co-hosted by the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance (SDIBA) and Yankton Sioux Economic Development Department (YSEDD); providing time and resources into making the day a reality. The purpose of the fair was to encourage, support, educate, and provide networking opportunities for the native entrepreneurs of the Yankton Sioux Tribe.
The fair provided valuable resources to each small business owner through a structured program to include topics such as access to loans for the different stages of entrepreneurship, resources available, technical assistance in developing a small business, customer service and sales skills, barriers that prevent access to main stream financial institutions, and what is a CDFI.
“The Native entrepreneurs that attended are excited and hyped up to continue their small business ventures,” said Flo Hare, Economic Development Administrator. She added, “There will be a follow up meeting for the local entrepreneurs in early March on their progress and provide a forum for support and networking.”
The local entrepreneurs brought their small businesses to the fair in different developmental phases.
Such businesses included, Sacred Hoop Design (Native jewelry made from natural resources such as buffalo bone), White Swan Community Development (Aqua-ponics/greenhouse), Startastic Creations (StarQuilts), D-3 Nature Woodworks, LLC, Snackies, Dacotah Rivers, LLE (Native Herbal Bath and Body Products) and others including a landscape and taco truck businesses.
Two small businesses set up booths at the fair, Sacred Hoops sold authentic native made jewelry and Indigenous, an American blues-rock group that came to prominence in the late 1990s. The band originally consisted of two brothers, Mato Nanji, Pte, along with their sister, Wanbdi, and their cousin, Horse.
In attendance were 11 individual entrepreneurs and 15 service organizations including USDA Rural Development staff.