Promoting small business growth at the 11th annual South Dakota CEO West Outstanding Women in Business awards

Tuesday marked the 11th annual South Dakota CEO West Outstanding Women in Business awards.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 2:38 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The 11th annual South Dakota CEO West Outstanding Women in Business Awards was held Tuesday, May 23.

This award show is designed to highlight the impact women entrepreneurs have across the state through their roles in business.

For the past 11 years, the SD CEO West Women’s Business Center has been holding these awards, not only to celebrate the women involved but also to commemorate all the work their companies and businesses have put in to help their local communities and economies.

Today, the Pivot Great and Small Celebrating Women in Business luncheon, was all about celebrating the women behind the scenes, and what they did to get there.

“It’s really important to highlight these businesses because of all of the work that they do. Small businesses have a large stake hold in South Dakota and the women here put so much effort into growing and developing in their communities, to support their communities through their businesses,” says Carissa Hauck the Director of SD CEO West Women’s Business Center.

Small businesses are a key component of the economy in South Dakota, these awards not only highlight the key role women already play in the economy but also encourage women to open these small businesses.

“South Dakota is actually a majority small business owned that support our economy and women hold a small piece of that and we want to encourage that growth here and recognize all of the efforts that it takes for a woman to go into business here in South Dakota,” Hauck continues.

Grow South Dakota, is a statewide non-profit organization, that does small business lending across the state.

They are one of the many women ran businesses being celebrated, their CEO, Lori Finnesand, who was nominated for Intrapreneur of the Year, stated that the impacts they have on small communities especially, make it all worth it.

“It is so reassuring to go through communities and see, especially in small rural communities, to see businesses that we’ve assisted to be able to provide essential services in small rural communities across the state, it might be the little grocery store, that is actually a part of the C store in the community that provides gas and milk and those to the resident of that area that might have to drive 40 minutes to get milk otherwise,” states Finnesand.

In rural areas, it is key for these small businesses to thrive, as they are what hold the small communities together.

Finnesand states that being a part of a small business makes you a part of a much larger team.

“Small businesses help drive all the services throughout the state of South Dakota. We work together and in South Dakota, we partner, and those small businesses can partner with others in the community to bring and keep those communities vitalized,” Finnesand concludes.

While the awards focus on what these businesses do for their communities and local economies, they continue to celebrate the women behind the scenes.