How This Goldman Sachs Graduate is Part of Rural Entrepreneurial Progress

Owner and CEO of Hitch Studio, Renee Bauman graduated from the first ever South Dakota cohort of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program on May 17, 2024. What was the Goldman Sachs program like as an entrepreneur? I’ll put it this way:

  • 29 South Dakota entreprenuers and new friends
  • 12 weeks
  • 10 modules of curriculum that pushed me in every way (In sales, leadership, marketing, negotiating, financials, and more)
  • 62 required zoom meetings
  • 7 days in person
  • Hours of reading, videos and homework
  • 2 financial forecasts
  • 4 growth opportunity plans (more than necessary, but that’s the way Renee does things)
  • All of this on top of BUSY wedding season

And my life will never be the same. To say it was intense is an understatement.

To say that it changed my view on business growth, even more so.

But how will this Goldman Sachs knowledge impact YOU, the client wanting an amazing event? Because we believe in empowering rural South Dakota. We want to see growth and progress — and we love being part of that! Rural South Dakotans are OUR PEOPLE. We know you, we love you, we ARE you. Hitch Studio is located in Brookings, South Dakota and we love serving events and doing wedding planning in Brookings, Watertown, Aberdeen, Mitchell, Sioux Falls, and every city in between! I can’t believe the personal connections I’ve made with so many people across the state!

At Hitch Studio, we believe in the power of entrepreneurship to transform rural communities. Our 10-year journey in Brookings is a testament to the incredible support and opportunities available to local businesses. Let’s dive into our story, exploring how community support, innovative ideas, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit have fueled our success.

Why I Chose Entrepreneurship: I absolutely love being a small business owner. Hitch Studio fulfills my creative spirit, passion for teaching, and service-driven heart. It allows me to design beautiful weddings, mentor employees, and dedicate time and energy to the couples we work with, all while balancing family life.

The Start of Hitch Studio: My entrepreneurial journey began after seven years in a corporate job. Inspired by a spark of curiosity and a desire to explore my potential, I started my first business in graphic design. Balancing a side hustle with a full-time job was tough, but it prepared me for something bigger. I launched Hitch Studio with a business partner, and together, we expanded it into three thriving divisions. In 2019, we amicably parted ways (love you, Carrie!), and I became the sole owner, growing our team to over 40 members and increasing our revenue significantly each year.

Our Impact on the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: For ten years, I’ve been part of a Masterminds group with other local entrepreneurs, sharing wins and challenges each month. Serving on various boards has allowed me to contribute to the broader business community (like ADC, The Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Brookings, etc.). Employing over 40 part-time staff has created a supportive work environment, encouraging students to see Brookings as a place with promising career opportunities. (Because keeping them in South Dakota is a larger goal!)

Hitch Studio specializes in wedding planning, wedding decorating, venue management, corporate event decorating, officiating, stationery design, and we wrote a wedding planner guide book. We identified a gap in Brookings for these services and stepped in to fill it. Writing a solid business plan and researching the market confirmed the demand for our offerings. Starting with a modest investment and growing steadily, we’ve created a unique business that stands out.

Personal Growth and Advice: Balancing work with personal life became crucial as my family grew. I shifted from doing every wedding, to growing a team and focusing on strategic growth (although I still work several weddings every year because I love it so much!). My top advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to understand your finances, seek mentorship, and continuously learn. I can’t recommend programs like Dakota Resources and Goldman Sachs enough. (Both are programs I graduated from. One exercised my heart and one exercised my mind).

Owning Hitch Studio has been a rewarding journey. The support from our community, a clear vision, and relentless passion, has been instrumental in our success.

Thanks to this incredible group of brilliant, hard working scholars and advisors in Goldman Sachs, I am a better person, a better business owner and making smarter business decisions than ever before. I can’t wait to see the impact we make in South Dakota.

We’re rural. Let’s all drive progress where small businesses can flourish. Thank you to the Goldman Sachs 10KSB program, which is encouraging this growth!

Many congratulations to my classmates! I can’t wait to see where your growth opportunity plans take you! Or more accurately…where YOU take THEM. Let’s grow.

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