Connecting Women Entrepreneurs Across South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – Women from across West KELOLAND gathered in Deadwood this week for the 11th Annual Women in Business Summit.

“It was almost like a big reunion, our last big event was in Deadwood in October 2019,” said Michelle Kane, CEO of West Women’s Business Center, Director of SD.

For the first time since the pandemic, the Women’s Business Summit was held in person. The conference is organized by the SD CEO West Women’s Business Center, a program funded by the Small Business Administration.

“There were 350 women here on Tuesday,” Kane said. “They come from all over and there are so many women among them: university students, women at the start of their careers and seasoned executives.

This face-to-face connection is one of the key elements of the summit designed to create community among businesswomen in the region.

“Sometimes we need to hear women from the podium speaking so other people in the audience can see themselves in there. So it’s like wow, it’s possible for me too.

It’s the kind of inspiration that the Western Women’s Business Center, CEO of SD, has been fostering for 11 years, showcasing outstate entrepreneurs at their annual summit.

“There are so many amazing women in South Dakota doing amazing things. But they have their heads down, they’re running their business, they’re focused. Our goal is to find them and bring them to the stage,” said said Kane.

“We are really looking forward to leveraging local talent, local women business owners at this conference and helping to build community,” said Sadie Swier, Executive Director of Eastern Women’s Business Center of SD.

Now, women entrepreneurs from East KELOLAND will also be able to share their stories and connect with other women at a new conference in Sioux Falls on September 27.

“The Eastern Women’s Business Center just turned one year old,” Swier said. “And now we’re having our first women’s visionary summit, which will be our first conference in Sioux Falls.”

Giving women across South Dakota a chance to grow.

“The goal is really personal and professional development,” Kane said. “West River, East River, there is a kind of competition, but we are here to serve all women.”

“Making those connections and propelling that economic development across the state,” Swier said.

Registration for the first SD CEO East women’s conference is open until September 20. The Women’s Visionary Summit will be held at the Washington Pavilion from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, September 27.

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