Over the last year, Renee and I have had the honor of participating in the Dakota Rising fellowship and grant program by Dakota Resources, an organization dedicated to empowering people and enriching communities across rural South Dakota. The work that the Dakota Resources team does is truly heartwarming. We have had the opportunity to get to know them over the past year and it’s clear they are focused on investing in people and the impact they have in their communities.
It’s fair to say that in the beginning, we were looking forward to the grant money and already had plans for it to aid us in expanding our business into a larger building. We quickly found out that the true benefit of this program was the education, the cohort process, and the fellows (the other grant winners from across the state who are in a similar stage of business as we are).
The program includes being paired in groups with other fellows and going through a coaching process that helps you identify the “holes in your bucket (holes in your business).” Your cohort group helps you dig into the true meaning behind your “holes” and helps you identify a defined action plan to move forward.
“I remember sitting at the award banquet last year when the fellows were about to receive their award money. A woman who was a member of the class receiving the award that night said to me, ‘I would have paid $10,000 to go through this Dakota Rising experience. And here we are — receiving it.’ Although Carrie and I are only halfway through the Dakota Rising program (GO CLASS OF 2019!), I wholeheartedly believe the same. This opportunity has been priceless. Our nine other fellows own businesses that are the treasures of South Dakota. It’s so much fun to watch each fellow grow personally (marriages, babies), and professionally (expanding in size, buying businesses, moving to larger locations, hiring employees, etc.)”. And the coaches are the best you’ll ever find. Each time we go to a Dakota Rising retreat, it’s hard to pull away from your business, but every time, I’m more thankful than ever that I get to be a part of this amazing grant program. I encourage any small, rural business owner who is 2-4 years into their business to apply. ~Renee Halgerson
The process focuses much more on you as a person rather than a business owner and is geared towards working ON your business, not IN your business. Group members zero-in on your habits and behaviors and hold you accountable for your goals. To date, we have been involved in several cohort sessions with the other fellows, I think Renee would agree that this process has proven to be both exhausting and life-changing personally and in business.
“I have loved getting to know the other people and businesses in the fellowship program. We have become family — we dig so deep into each other’s businesses that we are genuinely invested in them,” ~Carrie Kuhl.
We love sharing our experience with others and encouraging them to participate, which is why we are so excited to see that our friends at Wooden Legs Brewing Company and The Carrot Seed Kitchen Co. are in next year’s fellowship class. Congrats to both of you and we can’t wait to see how this program improves your already amazing businesses!