BROOKINGS, S.D. — The SDSU Extension Community Vitality Team and the Community of De Smet will host the Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference May 8-9, 2018 in downtown De Smet businesses.
Designed to energize South Dakota’s rural communities by inviting them to network with community leaders from across the state, share success stories, get ideas and take action to improve their own communities the conference will offer several sessions for community members and area business owners including: Funding for Community Projects, Entrepreneurial Experiences, Agritourism and Value Added Agriculture and Engaging Community Members.
“This event will have information for communities, resources and ways to become involved as well as information for current and potential entrepreneurs,” said Paul Thares, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist.
The event will feature Sarah Calhoun, as the keynote speaker. Calhoun is the owner of Red Ants Pants. She is also the Executive Director of the Red Ants Pants Foundation and Producer of the Red Ants Pants Music Festival.
She will share her story of successful business growth and development in the rural community of White Sulphur Springs, Montana (population 906). In addition she will share information on a large community event and a foundation that were started as a result of her successful business growth and community involvement.
There will also be a panel of young entrepreneurs.
“This event is a collaborative effort between leaders in the De Smet community and SDSU Extension Community Vitality Team,” said Thares.
The idea for this event, Thares explained, came out of a conference members of the SDSU Extension Community Vitality Team attended the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference in McCook, Nebraska.
This conference, hosted by University of Nebraska Extension, offered an interesting venue twist: conference sessions were held in main street businesses.
“McCook shop owners and managers shared their entrepreneurial journeys, while resource providers like Extension, Small Business Development and Economic Development discussed tools to assist entrepreneurs. The combination was powerful, with both groups learning from each other,” Thares said. “We hope for a similar experience in De Smet.”
More on Sarah Calhoun
Sarah Calhoun has nearly two decades of leadership experience in both the non-profit and small business sectors, working in the outdoor education industry before founding Red Ants Pants in 2006.
Raised on a farm in rural Connecticut, Calhoun was inspired to move to Montana by Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky. From her home in the small town of White Sulphur Springs, she has become an inspiration to entrepreneurs nationwide and is known for her dedication to supporting rural communities.
Calhoun has been called a “revolutionary figure in rural business today” and a “powerhouse of inspiration for women in business.”
Her dynamic style and inspiring experiences as an entrepreneur make her a highly sought after keynote speaker. She has given dozens of keynote addresses, and has been featured on national television programs such as CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg. Calhoun has risen to the top echelons of success as a rural entrepreneur.
To Register for the Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference event, visit iGrow.org/events to register after January 15, 2018.
Contact Thares with any questions at 605-374-4177 or e-mail Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org.
— SDSU Extension
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