Business news

Courtesy Four Bands Community Fund

The Four Bands Community Fund is celebrating a milestone as it reaches the $1.5 million mark in business loans provided to Native Americans living outside reservations across the state. The organization expanded its target market two years ago from those living on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation to a broader client base statewide.

Although the smoothie may not be a traditional Lakota drink, it’s been a staple for Michelle Antone in her business “Edible Arrangements’ – in Rapid City.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakotans list agriculture as the number one driver of economic development. That’s according to a recent survey that polled people nationally and gathered data in three separate states. Some people’s perceptions of the economy don’t jibe directly with information from businesses. 

A Wells Fargo and USA Today survey polled South Dakotans to find out which sectors they think contribute to a healthy economy. The top responses in order were agriculture, health care, education, construction, and retail.

2012 Tax Refunds Still Available

Mar 22, 2016

Time is running out for South Dakotans to file their 2012 tax returns.   Millions of dollars are available for tax payers who didn’t file four years ago

Nationally there is over $950 million available for 2012 tax returns alone. The Internal Revenue Service gives tax payers three years to file returns after any tax season. This is possible because there is no penalty for filing late if a refund is due.  Any refunds that remain unclaimed after the three year deadline become property of the US Treasury. IRS Spokesperson Karen Connelly says happens more than you’d think.

Native American Natural Foods Keeps On Growing

Mar 16, 2016
Courtesy Native American Natural Foods

Native American Natural Foods’ Tanka Bar has grown from a small local health food to the most popular snack product sold by Recreational Equipment, Incorporated…commonly known as REI. 

As the Pine Ridge Reservation-based Tanka Bar manufacturer prepared to attend yet another natural foods expo, we visited with company president Mark Tilsen to discuss the growth and popularity of the small-town Lakota business.

Shelly Gardner is an assistant professor of business administration and the trained facilitator of the Icehouse Entrepreneurship Program. Gardner will facilitate the “Entrepreneurial Mindset Academy”. The eight week program begins April 7 from 8:30 – 12:30 each Thursday at Augustana University. This is a partnership with the Technology Business Center.

Rich Naser is the executive director of the South Dakota Technology Business Center, a business incubator launched by Forward Sioux Falls in 2004. This is a resource for innovators and entrepreneurs launching, growing or expanding successful technology-based businesses in Sioux Falls.

Naser also directs the Forward Sioux Falls Research, Technology and Entrepreneurship initiatives which focuses on developing the human capital, early-stage funding and research infrastructure necessary to support high growth businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Nate Welch is the Vermillion Area Chamber & Development Company executive director. He discusses this week’s announcement that Vermillion’s technology center is now at full capacity. The Revolving Economic Development and Initiative (REDI) Fund Loan is credited with bringing two new businesses to Vermillion. Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corporation is based in Boca Raton, Florida, and Navigant Cymetrix Corporation based in Irvine, California, are moving into the 32,000-square-foot-technology center.

Photo by Jim Kent

The village of Whiteclay, Nebraska has long had a reputation as being the primary location for alcohol purchases by members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. The image of vehicles driving from the Pine Ridge Reservation across the Nebraska border and returning to the dry Native American land has appeared in media outlets around the world. It’s an image that has fueled controversy over the indiscriminate sale of alcohol to residents of a neighboring community where alcohol abuse and addiction run rampant.

Courtesy Lakota Country Times

A Native American-owned newspaper based in Martin has become the first weekly newspaper in South Dakota to offer a mobile app to its readers. But this shouldn’t be a surprise…considering the number of Facebook followers this small-town publication has. 

The Lakota Country Times is the largest Lakota-owned and operated independent color newspaper. The publication has sections created by Native schools in the area as well as being the legal paper for the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes.

Courtesy Black Hills Pioneer

The Black Hills Pioneer is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year. Founded in 1876, the northern Black Hills publication is the oldest newspaper and business in Western South Dakota. We visited with publisher Letitia Lister at the Pioneer’s Spearfish offices to discuss the paper’s early days and history as well as what role it plays in the community today.

New BHFCU TV Commercial In Lakota

Jan 31, 2016

If you live in the Black Hills area you may have seen a recent commercial entirely in Lakota on TV.

It’s an advertisement for the Black Hills Federal Credit Union and it’s airing on every broadcast and cable TV network in the Hills area

Credit Union officials say they want to reach out to Lakota people in their own language.

Two Lakota versions of the BHFCU commercial are circulating, one with the Lakota female dialect and one with the male.  A third version of the commercial is in English.

Dakota Midday: Chef To Plate

Nov 19, 2015

It's Global Entrepreneurship Week and guest host Jackelyn Severin welcomed Moriah Slade, owner and creative director of Chef to Plate, a new Sioux Falls-based business that offers healthy family meals to go.  Slade shared her experience in starting a new business in South Dakota.

Businesses Offer Vets Veterans Day Discounts

Nov 10, 2015
Courtesy American Legion

Veterans Day is the time we honor those men and women who have served our country as members of America’s armed forces. And though communities across the country participate in this national day of recognition with parades and a variety of other celebrations, hundreds of businesses – large and small – also do their part to say “thank you” to our veterans. SDPB’s Jim Kent has more.

Dakota Midday: BH Power VP On Clean Power Plan

Nov 10, 2015
Black Hills Power

We’re continuing a series of interviews on energy and the environment with a conversation with Vance Crocker Vice President of Operations for Black Hills Power.

Last week we heard from Dr. Bull Bennett  an author of the Third National Climate Assessment on the necessity to deal with global warming.

Courtesy Cuny Communications

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is working with the City of Pierre to establish a plan that would assist tribal members in filling employment needs in the state’s capital. SDPB’s Jim Kent visited with the Mayor of Pierre and a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal spokesperson to learn more about joint plans to fill at least some of the city’s 600 job openings.

In a way, networking and building community in the digital age is easier than a generation ago.  A new connection in your field of work is sometimes just a Facebook click away.  But there is more to building community, business relationships and innovation than just social media.  This is where the group Pollen comes in.  The non-profit is based in Minnesota and the Dakotas.  Pollen is attempting to build cross community networks and relationships that spur new ideas and possibilities in the three-state region.  Pol

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The conversations of Dakota Midday on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 are woven together with an economics thread.

Workforce initiatives can't rely on the quality of jobs in South Dakota if they want to attract people from other regions. Research shows the way younger people choose careers is different than you might expect. J. Mac Holladay is the founder and CEO of Market Street Services based in Atlanta, Georgia. He explains why place may matter more than a certain kind of employment.

Dakota Midday: Creativity Week 2015

Sep 24, 2015

Creativity Week 2015 begins Friday in Brookings.  It's a week-long festival celebrating the creatives in the Brookings community - everything from artists to local business, lectures to architects, music and everyone in between.  Scott Meyer, "brofounder" and Head of Business Development at 9 Clouds Digital Marketing talked about the Creativity Week schedule.  A full listing of events can be found at

SD Secretary of State

Efforts to improve tribal state relations and new economic development in Indian Country are continuing in South Dakota.  
The Secretary of State Shantel Krebs is reaching out to tribes and forming new memorandum of agreements that help tribal governments maintain commercial codes that are a foundation for economic development.
Tribal business leaders say they welcome the efforts but add that much more work is needed to boost tribal sovereignty, smooth state relations, and pave the way for improved economic development.

Rally Temp Vendor Sales Tax Revenue Skyrockets

Sep 15, 2015
Chynna Lockett

One early indicator shows the 2015 Sturgis Rally topped all previous records by a large margin.

The sales tax revenue generated from temporary vendor booths for this year’s rally is 76 percent higher than last year.

Temporary vendors who came in for the rally brought in about $2.4-million in sales taxes. 

Lori Haupt  is with the South Dakota Department of Revenue.  

She tracks Sturgis Rally tax receipts year by year and she says 2015 blew past all previous records.

Courtesy Clinton Foundation

The executive director of a Native American Community Development Financial Institution was recently invited to attend a gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative. SDPB spoke with Tanya Fiddler to ask what it was like to offer her perspective on economic development in Indian Country at a forum that reaches leaders from around the world. 

Karl Gehrke SDPB

The price at the pump is falling in South Dakota and across the nation. The average price for a gallon of gas in South Dakota today is $2.72, according to the gas price tracking site That's just under two cents cheaper than a week ago. A year ago the average price was $3.48.  The national average for gas is just under $2.69. Analysts expect  that the latter half of the summer will bring cheaper gas prices while the fall could see gas prices dropping below $2.00 a gallon.

Beyond Yogurt: Ongoing Greek Crisis Can Impact SD Exports

Jul 20, 2015

On Monday banks in Greece reopened after the approval of a European Union backed bailout for the country’s economy.

Some economists worry the crisis in Greece has only been averted temporally–and experts who promote international trade of South Dakota goods say the ripple effects from economic instability in Europe could even impact this state.

Greece is not a huge trading partner with South Dakota businesses.  The state exports less than a half-million dollars in goods annually to Greece, and that’s mostly agricultural products.  

NYC Director Talks About "Buffalo Returns"

Jul 15, 2015
Courtesy Tribeca Digital Studios

A documentary about a Native American-owned South Dakota business premieres in over 40 million homes tonight on cable platforms such as Comcast, Time-Warner Cable and the American Express You Tube Channel. We spoke with the director of “Buffalo Returns” to ask what attracted her to making a film about Native American Natural Foods. 

Tanka Bar Documentary Has National Premiere

Jul 15, 2015
Courtesy Tribeca Digital Studios

A documentary about a Native American-owned South Dakota business is making its world premiere today as part of a series of short films that celebrate small businesses.

“Buffalo Returns” is a documentary film produced by Tribeca Digital Studios and American Express that tells the story of the “Tanka Bar”. Manufactured by Native American Natural Foods in Kyle, South Dakota the all-natural, buffalo and cranberry snack bar is sold at over 6000 locations in all 50 states.

Advance Health has announced it's locating a new office and customer service center in an unused building at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Company officials say the new site is its third location and they expect to fill more than 200 jobs during the next three-to-five years.

Courtesy Four Bands Community Fund

A Lakota woman from the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation has received a national award recognizing her work in helping individuals and families in communities of color build wealth and achieve economic security.

Four Bands Community Fund Executive Director Tanya Fiddler has been honored as an Asset Builder Champion by the Center for Global Policy Solutions.

The award was presented at The Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative’s Color of Wealth Summit in Washington, DC.

Slower Growth Ahead

Jun 1, 2015
Creighton University

"Slower Growth Ahead for Mid-America Region: Job Losses for May" is the business index headline for the latest survey of Ernie Goss, Creighton University MacAllister Chair in Economics.  Goss joined guest host Cara Hetland on Monday's Dakota Midday and said the news isn't all bad.

Dakota Midday: Summer Travel

May 21, 2015

With the summer travel season in clear sight, Wanda Goodman, Deputy Secretary with the South Dakota Department of Tourism, said last year's state tourism records are likely to be broken.  She shared last year's figures and visited about popular tourist attractions.

Meanwhile, Patrick DeHaan of said fuel prices should remain steady in the mid-$2 range throughout the season.

Native Business Gathering In Deadwood

May 19, 2015
Public Domain - Wikipedia

Native American business owners and tribal leaders will gather with representatives from lending institutions and government agencies for the 2015 South Dakota Indian Business Conference in Deadwood this week. Native entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs will learn about the successes and challenges in creating an Indian business.

The biennial South Dakota Indian Business Conference has become a “must attend” for anyone interested in starting, maintaining or assisting a Native-owned business, says Tanya Fiddler.