Hey Sioux Falls announces finalists in entrepreneur awards

Aug. 23, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.

Eighteen individuals and businesses have been nominated for Hey Sioux Falls awards, a new event celebrating entrepreneurship in the community.

“We want to shine the light on the people and companies doing great work. We hope this encourages those who are in the thick of it to keep going and those who want to be involved to get started,” said Lemonly CEO John Meyer, one of the event organizers.

“But this event is not just for entrepreneurs. We want to bring the entire business community together, which is why it’s a collaboration between 1 Million Cups, Zeal and the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.”

Winners will be announced at the event Sept. 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater Center.

The finalists are:

  • New Startup of the Year: Learn Create Build, SiouxFalls.Business and Well 365.
  • Growth Startup of the Year: Farmers Business Network, Think 3D Solutions and Weisser Distributing.
  • Startup Champion of the Year: Clint Brown, Will Bushee and Karla Santi.
  • Investor of the Year: Bird Dog Equity Partners, Bluestem Capital Co. LLC and Falls Angel Fund.
  • Corporate Innovator of the Year: First Bank & Trust, The First National Bank in Sioux Falls and Midco.
  • Social Impact: Face It Together, Helpline Center’s Sioux Empire Network of Care and Sioux Falls Seminary.

We asked Meyer to take us behind the scenes as his group put together the new event.

How did you determine the categories?

We looked at what other cities in the region have done at their annual award events — Fargo, Omaha, Des Moines — and then also thought about what categories made sense to Sioux Falls. We have awards that could go to people and to organizations and some that could truly be either.

What kind of response did you get as far as nominations?

Interest in the event has been tremendous. Admittedly, I think some curiosity of ‘What exactly is this?’ which I think is normal for any new event. But our group was happy with all the nominations we received. We had a great pool to select from and are very thrilled with the 18 people and companies nominated.

What stood out about the finalists?

There is a lot to like about the finalists. Now each category is very different, but at a high-level you see consistent characteristics of innovation, a dogged determination, willingness to both ask for and give help, and a passion for the community of Sioux Falls. For a first-time event, we’re very happy with our group of finalists, and across the six categories they are a great representation of the vibrant, innovative community of entrepreneurship we have in Sioux Falls.

How will the the winners be chosen?

We have a panel of organizers that represent a broad group of folks involved in both the entrepreneurial and business community of Sioux Falls. This includes Jason Ball, president and CEO of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce; Thadeus Giedd, client specialist at Zeal; and Sioux Falls entrepreneurs, including Addie Graham-Kramer, Matt Paulson and myself. We also felt it was appropriate that none of the organizers or their companies would be eligible for the awards.

What can people expect from the event?

We’re working hard to make it look and feel different than any event. The Event Company is leading the charge from an event-planning perspective, so you know it’ll be great. We’ll also have some great entrepreneurial and community leaders giving away the awards and a guest speaker, Nate Olson, who is the original creator/founder of 1 Million Cups. He started chapter No. 1 in Kansas City. It’ll be a great evening. I would strongly encourage folks to attend.

To register for the event, click here.

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Hey Sioux Falls announces finalists in entrepreneur awards

Eighteen individuals and businesses have been nominated for Hey Sioux Falls awards, a new event celebrating entrepreneurship in the community.

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