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GROW SD Recognizes Women’s Small Business Month

Thursday, October 04, 2018

October is National Women’s Small Business Month, raising awareness of the increasing role women are playing in business ownership in the United States. Nationally, 38% of businesses are owned by women. GROW South Dakota has also increased its attention on supporting women-owned businesses.

Women-owned businesses in South Dakota are mixed. The 2012 Census Survey of Business Owners found the following ownership breakdown in South Dakota: 53.8% male-owned, 30.09% female-owned, and 16.11% male-/female-owned. In that survey, the state was last in the U.S. in the proportion of women-owned businesses.

On the other hand, women-owned businesses have been a bright spot in the U.S. economy since the 2007-2008 recession, and South Dakota has been one of the brightest. Since 2007, the state has seen a 50% increase in the number of women-owned firms as well as significant growth in their average revenue, putting it in the top 10 states in the nation. More significantly, viewing the growth in terms of economic clout—combining the increase in the number of firms with the employment and revenues of women-owned businesses during the same time frame—South Dakota is tied for first among all states. Still, there is room to grow for women-owned businesses in the state.

A small, unscientific GROW SD survey of South Dakota businesses showed a brighter picture. In the survey, female-owned firms tended to be newer and smaller in terms of revenue and employees than all businesses. A slight minority had recently applied for financing and applied for significantly less funding compared to other businesses, but they were more likely to get all they requested than other businesses.

GROW SD aims to continue focusing on women-owned businesses. In spring 2018, it was a planner and sponsor of the inaugural Women’s Business Conference organized by the South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SDCEO) and plans to sponsor the 2019 conference. GROW SD has also worked with SDCEO to reach more women-owned businesses, particularly in western South Dakota.

“Economic development and job creation are primary goals of GROW SD,” says Lori Finnesand, co-CEO. “All businesses support those goals, but we’re also proud to support increasing the contributions of women’s businesses to the state economy.”

This is the 40th anniversary of small business lending by GROW SD. In that time, it has made more than 2,020 loans totaling more than $70.3 million to 1,220 businesses, which have created or maintained more than 12,400 jobs. Interested businesses should go to and visit the Application Center or call (605) 698-7654.

Category: Success Stories

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The GROW South Dakota Organizations Have had a Remarkable Few Years!

NESDEC celebrated 42 years in 2020, closing 60 business loans for a total of $3.8 million.

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GROW South Dakota

GROW South Dakota
104 Ash Street East | Sisseton, SD  57262
Phone (605) 698-7654 | Fax (605) 698-3038