SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Women from across the KELOLAND West gathered in Deadwood this week for the 11th annual Women in Business Summit.
“It was almost like a big reunion, our last big event was in Deadwood in October 2019,” said Michelle Kane, director of the SD Women’s Business Center.
For the first time since the pandemic, The Women’s Business Summit was held in person. The conference is hosted by the Women’s Business Center of Western SD, a program funded by the Small Business Administration.
“There were 350 women here on Tuesday,” Kane said. “They come from all over and there’s such a wide range of women who attend: college students, women starting their careers and seasoned executives.”
This face-to-face connection is one of the key components of the summit designed to build community among women in business.
“Sometimes we need to hear women from the podium speak so that other people in the audience can see themselves in this. So it’s like, this is possible for me too.”
It’s the kind of inspiration the CEO of the SD West Women’s Business Center has encouraged for the past 11 years, highlighting entrepreneurs from the state’s west at its annual summit.
“There are so many incredible women in South Dakota doing incredible things. But they have their heads down, they’re running their business, they’re focused. Our goal is to find them and bring them to the stage,” Kane said.
“We’re really looking forward to leveraging local talent, local women entrepreneurs at this conference and helping build community,” said Eastern SD Women’s Business Center Director, CEO Sadie Swier.
Now KELOLAND’s Eastern Women Business Leaders will also be able to share their stories and connect with other women at a new conference in Sioux Falls on September 27th.
“The Eastern Women’s Business Center just turned one year old,” Swier said. “And now we’re hosting our inaugural Women’s Visionary Summit, which will be our first conference in Sioux Falls.”
Giving women across South Dakota the opportunity to grow.
“The goal is really personal and professional development,” Kane said. “West River, East River, there’s kind of that competition, but we’re here to serve all women.”
“Making those connections and driving that economic development across the state,” Swier said.
Registration for the first SD CEO East Women’s Conference is open until September 20th. The Women’s Visionary Summit will be held at the Washington Pavilion from 8 am to 1 pm on Tuesday, September 27.