In a year marked by empowerment and achievement, the Southeast Enterprise Facilitation Project (SEFP) not only celebrated milestones but also set the stage for future excitement. As 2023 comes to a close, SEFP reflects on a year of fostering dreams, supporting businesses, and making a lasting impact in the Southeast region.

SEFP facilitated the 19th year of the Regional Career Fair, an event that has inspired local youth and showcased the wealth of opportunities within South Dakota. This year’s fair at the Menno High School, themed “Your Future Festival,” saw 304 students from 11 high schools taking ownership of their career paths. Representatives from the Build Dakota Scholarship guided students and businesses through the program. The legacy of the fair is a testament to SEFP’s commitment to shaping a brighter future within the region. We are excited for the 20th Career Fair that will be at the Bridgewater Emery High School in 2024.

SEFP’s Business Succession Workshops were a triumph, engaging 23 passionate business owners representing 14 local enterprises. With insights from expert panelists, attendees left inspired and equipped to plan for the future. Don Nolan, one of the workshop panelists, emphasized the significance of local business succession, stating, “Local business succession is probably the most critical issue facing our local rural economies and one that we can be in control of. My hat is off to SEFP for hitting this issue head-on.” A Business Succession Roadmap and Workbook were provided as tools to guide businesses in their growth.

At the Annual Investor Reception, SEFP brought together leaders to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit in the Southeast region. Six outstanding businesses were recognized for their contributions, symbolizing the resilience and determination of local entrepreneurs. Daren & Alyssa Korkow of Addy Disposal and Vanessa & Ransom Jones of Nails to Tails Dog Grooming LLC received “1st Dollar of Profit” certificates, embodying the first steps in their entrepreneurial journeys. Other new businesses have been recognized since, including McDugle Paints LLC and April Gawboy’s Pet Grooming.

In November, SEFP partnered up with Dakota Resources to facilitate a Community Stakeholder Event. This event showcased community members deeply committed to building a thriving future. By leveraging the Thriving Community Blueprint, acknowledging current realities, and engaging in meaningful conversations, community leaders and stakeholders are poised to overcome challenges and unlock new opportunities. The blueprint provided a roadmap for sustained growth, ensuring that the Southeast region continues to flourish economically, socially, and culturally. The SEFP board is taking into consideration the feedback and insights from this session to potentially broaden our reach and impact in our communities.

As the year concludes, SEFP is poised for an exciting 2024. Four open-ended projects and numerous inquiries have set the stage for future growth and development. In 2023, SEFP played a pivotal role in the establishment of four new businesses, supported three expansions, and assisted in retaining two existing businesses. These endeavors collectively created or retained 24 jobs, contributing to the economic vitality of the region.

SEFP’s impact extends beyond major projects, as the organization actively engaged with five community assistance requests. Additionally, three grant inquiries and assistance efforts resulted in funding for daycare, housing, and community marketing initiatives. Two businesses requested Strategic Planning assistance that should open them up for new opportunities. Seventeen other requests were completed from basic business needs information to research and marketing direction. In total, we are ending the year with approximately 76 inquiries. These successes showcase SEFP’s dedication to addressing diverse needs within the community, fostering holistic growth and development.

As SEFP concludes a year filled with accomplishments, the organization remains committed to driving positive change and building a prosperous future for the Southeast region. The groundwork laid in 2023 sets the stage for continued success and excitement in the coming year.

 

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