Last fall, South Dakota USDA Rural Development highlighted a valuable partner; GROW South Dakota, formerly known as the Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation, for its 18 year partnership in community lending. While giving back to the communities they serve, GROW South Dakota has also contributed to the region as a whole through its fiscal administrative support of regional planning and development through a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) and a Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG).
“The total impact that GROW has had is not just measured in loans made or jobs created; they have assisted in the stabilization and creation of thriving, vibrant communities in rural South Dakota,” said South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks. Small businesses use U.S. Department of Agriculture funds to develop and provide web-based technical assistance for the region’s partnering organizations and for a regional website that provides a central link to local organizations and expertise for the current technology and available social media.
By providing industry information, community data, commercial real estate information, and quality of life information, the northeast South Dakota region collectively markets through the South Dakota Prairie Gateway website. “ This regional approach to a website and social media incorporates regional collaboration and shared values while generating benefits and marketing for the people and businesses of our region,” said Lori Finnesand, Chief Executive Officer for GROW South Dakota.
By August 2012, the nonprofit economic development corporation received and implemented 10 Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) loans that helped affected twenty-eight different communities, ninety-eight businesses, and leveraged $15.6 million in total financial support for start-up and expanding businesses.
And the success continues.
Capitalizing on the region’s readiness to work together, those same communities have continued partnering. Sharing their success with the region, GROW South Dakota has provided USDA leveraged funds to further sustain the businesses in their service area as well as support the success of the region for a sustainable future.