Success Stories

Loan Supports Young Entrepreneur’s Daycare Dreams in Philip

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A young entrepreneur is pursuing her dream of owning her own daycare business, thanks to the help of a loan from GROW South Dakota. Hallie Konst was born and raised in Philip, South Dakota. She has always loved children and caring for people. She considered pursuing a teaching degree but opted to study business management because she thought it would translate to a higher paying job after graduation. In the end, she figured out a way to combine her passion with her schooling by purchasing an existing Philip daycare in 2017 and opening Konst Kids Daycare. The daycare facility in Philip has...
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GROW SD Awarded Housing Funds

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Funds In late 2018, GROW South Dakota was awarded just over $370,000 from the South Dakota Housing Opportunity Fund (HOF) to support two affordable housing programs that will support South Dakotans with low and moderate income. GROW SD received grants for its down payment assistance program for persons earning 115% or below of the area median income. Recipients will typically receive a $5,000 zero-percent interest deferred loan, which is not due to be paid until the first mortgage on the home is paid off. One grant provides $165,000 for down payment loans in rural areas of the state, and the second...
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Homeless Count Scheduled for January 22, 2019

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Every year in January, the South Dakota Housing Development Authority conducts a one-day count of homeless persons in the state. The count is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Again this year, SDHDA contracted with the four CAP agencies in the state to coordinate counts in their service areas, and GROW South Dakota will support the 17 Northeast South Dakota Community Action Program (NESDCAP) counties. The results of the count are used both to identify the extent of the problem and to request funds to address it. The date for the count is January 22, 2019. The...
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GROW SD Part of South Dakota Gives

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

GROW South Dakota is participating in the inaugural South Dakota Gives, an online offshoot of the national Giving Tuesday program to promote philanthropy. On November 27, 2018, the statewide project hopes to drive South Dakotans (and others) to support their favorite nonprofit. GROW SD is one of more than 300 organizations profiled on the site and set up to receive online donations. Visit GROW SD’s profile to make a donation.  Giving Tuesday started in 2012. Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s aimed to kick off the charitable season when many people focus on their holiday giving and end-of-the-year charitable donations....
Weatherization Day

Monday, October 29, 2018

Low-income households in America spend a disproportionate percentage of their annual incomes on home energy bills. Weatherization Day, October 30, highlights cost-effective, permanent weatherizing solutions for reducing the heavy energy burden these families endure. The US Department of Energy has supported weatherization of more than 7 million low-income households across the nation since 1976. Of those, GROW South Dakota has weatherized more than 7,300 homes in the state for a total of over $24 million.   A recent survey of GROW SD’s weatherization customers shows satisfaction with the services they’ve received and gratitude that their homes are healthier and more energy efficient. • 94%...
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Thursday, October 04, 2018

Youth! Entrepreneurship! Cash! Scholarships! These are the key ingredients in the 2018 BIG Idea Competition, which launched on September 1. High school students across South Dakota are invited to compete in this business idea competition where winners will receive over $5,500 in cash awards and scholarships. Students may work individually or as a team and will be able to submit their business idea applications online until October 31, 2018. The online application as well as various resources and examples can be accessed at the BIG Idea website: For the optional marketing design competition, which carries a $500 cash prize, students will create...
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GROW SD Receives Over $1.4 Million in CDFI Funding

Thursday, October 04, 2018

GROW South Dakota was recently awarded $1.45 million from the U.S. Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). GROW South Dakota and the Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation (NESDEC), both of which are certified CDFIs, received the awards, which will expand their small business and first mortgage housing lending programs. The announcement came in September. GROW South Dakota received a grant of $950,000 in CDFI Financial Assistance funds, which will support its direct lending program for housing mortgages. Of the total, $250,000 will be directed to focus on South Dakota counties identified by the CDFI Fund as areas of persistent poverty. NESDEC...
GROW SD to Celebrate Weatherization Day

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Each year, October 30 is recognized as Weatherization Day. This day highlights the fact that low-income households spend a disproportionate percentage of their annual incomes on home energy bills. Weatherization provides cost-effective, permanent solutions for reducing the heavy energy burden these families endure. The US Department of Energy has supported weatherization of more than 7 million homes across the nation since 1976. Weatherization programs focus on upgrades to mechanical and electrical systems, health and safety measures, and building shell issues. These services not only save energy through advanced technologies to improve energy affordability for low-income families, but they also save lives...
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BIG Idea Competition Opens September 1

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

by Kelly Weaver, Small Business Development Center Regional Director Entrepreneurship - taking initiative and risk in a business venture - is one key to supporting our rural economies The BIG Idea Competition, entering its eleventh year, seeks to promote entrepreneurship, spur creative thinking, and encourage students to start a business. The BIG Idea Competition is a free business idea competition for high school students.  Students submit a written description of their business idea and compete for over $5,500 in cash awards and scholarships. There is also an optional Marketing Design award where students create an ad to support their business idea. Additional...
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GROW SD Grant Supports Faulkton Elevator Mural

Monday, July 09, 2018

GROW South Dakota has received a grant that will support a unique mural going up in Faulkton this summer. Australian artist Guido van Helten, who has created large murals on public buildings around the world, will be painting images representative of the people of the Faulkton area on the grain elevator there. GROW SD received a grant from a Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) program meant to support arts and culture projects that help drive economic development.  Van Helten was recruited to Faulkton to paint the Agtegra elevator in order to create a one-of-a-kind South Dakota artwork in the town...
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Unique Board Structure Guides GROW South Dakota

Monday, July 09, 2018

GROW South Dakota is not a typical nonprofit organization. Governing an affiliation of three separate, independent nonprofits with complementary missions and shared staff can be a challenge, but the boards of directors of the three agencies are up to the task. Each organization has its own board of directors. NESDCAP, founded as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, has a 15-member board, divided into groups serving from three sets of counties in the 17-county service area. By law, board members must represent low-income, private, or public official constituencies. NESDEC also has a 15-member board representing its 22-county service area....
GROW SD Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Business Loan Special

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

In 1978, GROW South Dakota made its first business loans. In the 40 years since then, the agency has had significant impact on businesses and communities throughout northeastern South Dakota and beyond. To celebrate this milestone, GROW SD is offering a business loan special.   GROW SD’s revolving loan fund was established in 1978 with the purpose of supporting economic development in 22 northeastern South Dakota counties through small business loans and job creation. Since that time, the agency has made 2,009 loans for a total of more than $69.7 million to 1,214 area businesses (as of 3/31/18). These loans have assisted...
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Celebrating Homeownership Month

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

June is National Homeownership Month, a time to recognize how owning a home relates not just to achieving the American Dream, but also to providing stable lives for families and creating stronger neighborhoods and communities. Homeownership is always a focus for GROW South Dakota, as we provide a variety of products and services to help people purchase or improve their homes. GROW SD has made 324 loans this year. GROW SD is putting three newly constructed single family homes on the market in Sisseton. These two bedroom, two bath homes include a two-car garage and are 1,140-1,230 square feet. Construction of...
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GROW SD Celebrates Community during NeighborWorks Week

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

During NeighborWorks Week, GROW South Dakota will host two open houses on June 6, 11 AM to 6 PM, with lunch being served 11 AM to 2 PM. The homes are located at 616 8th Ave E., and 105 Arnie Dr., Sisseton, SD. This year’s theme is “Advancing Opportunity,” and NeighborWorks organizations advance opportunity by empowering residents and communities with the tools, skills and services they need to help everyone thrive. GROW South Dakota and other NeighborWorks organizations across the country will mobilize tens of thousands of residents, business people and government officials in a week of neighborhood change and awareness,...
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Celebrating Community Action Month

Monday, April 30, 2018

In May, community action agencies nationwide observe Community Action Month, a period set aside to recognize the contributions that nonprofits, volunteers, and other committed citizens can make in improving their communities. The Northeast South Dakota Community Action Program (NESDCAP) dba GROW South Dakota has been at it for 50 years. It was created in 1966, soon after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which created Community Action Agencies as part of the War on Poverty. GROW South Dakota was established to wage the war on poverty by implementing innovative and cost-effective programs to improve the lives and...
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Encouraging Homegrown Businesses

Monday, April 30, 2018

Small businesses can have a big impact. Did you know that two out of three new private-sector jobs in the United States since the Great Recession were created by small businesses? Since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week. In 2018, this week falls between April 29 and May 5. It’s a time to honor the remarkable contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. For the first time this year, the Small Business Alliance is hosting a virtual conference as part of National Small Business Week. This is a wonderful opportunity for...
NESDEC Board Member Sought

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation (NESDEC) dba GROW South Dakota is seeking a board candidate for a Low Income Representative on the Board of Directors. The board member will represent constituents from Clark, Codington, Day, Grant, Marshall, and Roberts counties. If you would like further information, please contact Lori Finnesand at 605-698-7654 or  For more information about GROW South Dakota’s housing and business development programs and services, please visit our website at or call (605) 698-7654.
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Down Payment Funds Deploying Ahead of Schedule

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

GROW South Dakota has received $4.1 million in funding to support down payment assistance for families with low to moderate income. In April 2017, GROW SD received funding from Project Reinvest for 200 deferred loans at $10,500 each and was expected to deploy them within two years. In November, 2017, the Wells Fargo Neighborhood LIFT funding for 225 forgivable loans at $7,500 each was launched and also had a two-year deployment time. In both programs, the down payment assistance was paired with a first mortgage typically financed by a Grow SD approved lender. As of late March 2018, GROW SD has...
GROW SD Uses State Farm® Grant to Prepare Homebuyers

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

GROW SD Uses State Farm® Grant to Prepare Homebuyers New homebuyers in South Dakota are more prepared for homeownership thanks to GROW South Dakota’s Preparing Homebuyers project and the help of a Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant from State Farm. The project supports prospective homebuyers in evaluating their readiness to purchase a home, preparing to apply for a mortgage, and building their understanding of all aspects of owning a home. The grant funded an information sheet on basic steps in preparing for homeownership. GROW SD began the project with a goal of reaching at least 200 people with homeownership information. Through a variety of...
BIG Idea Competition Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Special Speaker and Entrepreneurship Survey

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The BIG Idea Competition—the business idea contest for South Dakota high school students—is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017 with a few new wrinkles. The basics of the competition remain the same as they have since its founding in 2007. High school students are invited to work individually or in small teams to produce a description of a business idea and enter it at by October 31. After judging by hundreds of volunteers statewide, the top eight finalists will present their ideas at a final event on December 7 in Aberdeen. Winners receive cash prizes and scholarships from Northern...
GROW SD Receives State Farm® Grant to Prepare Homebuyers

Friday, March 31, 2017

GROW South Dakota recently received a Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant from State Farm for its Preparing Homebuyers project. The purpose of the project is to support prospective homebuyers in evaluating their readiness to purchase a home, preparing to apply for a mortgage, and building their understanding of all aspects of owning a home. The grant will fund the preparation of an information sheet on basic steps in preparing for homeownership as well as coaching by GROW South Dakota staff to make a successful application for a home mortgage. The project has a goal of particularly supporting low-income potential homebuyers. The grant...
Sisseton Landmark Selected for Art Installation

Friday, March 31, 2017

Markus Tracy is preparing his canvas for one of the public art project to be completed on Veterans Avenue in Sisseton in preparation for the community's 125th celebration in June. Using a unique "inside-out" concept, the exterior doors and windows of the Siston Theater will become individual screens projecting images that reflect the community's identity for people passing by on the sidewalk or street. The project is a joint effort of GROW SD and the Sisseton Arts Council with support from a Rural LISC Arts and Culture Grant and the South Dakota Arts Council. Next week's Courier will feature another of the art projects to...
Is Small Specialty Retailing Coming Into Its Own?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

by Kelly Weaver, Small Business Development Center Regional Director   According to some retail experts, we have entered into a new phase of retailing where customers are in the driver seat more than ever.  Accustomed to having an unlimited selection of products at their fingertips, customers are beginning to crave experience over stuff.  The good news is that small independent retailers are better positioned to offer that experience. Consumers are looking for products and services customized to their specific needs and in line with their values and interests.  We have begun to see the decline of mass marketers with store closings by the...
South Dakota Community Foundation Awards $10,000 Grant to Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) has awarded a $10,000 South Dakota Fund grant to Northeast South Dakota Economic Corporation (NESDEC). Since 1978, NESDEC has significantly impacted economic development in its 22-county service area by supporting business ownership, jobs, and homeownership. This grant will assist with supplementing NESDEC’s Revolving Loan Fund's Loan Loss Reserve for loans.   Pictured are: Ginger Niemann, SDCF Program Officer and Dustin Bragg, Grow SD   About the SDCF Since 1987, the South Dakota Community Foundation has helped people reach their philanthropic goals and strengthened communities across the state. The SDCF administers approximately $250 million in total assets for over 760...
Certified Navigators to Assist During Open Enrollment

Monday, October 31, 2016

With open enrollment for 2017 under away, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced $63 million in Navigator grant awards to returning and new organizations.  These awards will support local in-person assistance to help consumers navigate, shop, and enroll in the wide variety of Marketplace coverage options.  “We are committed to making sure consumers have all the resources they need to find the right plan,” said Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplace.  “We know in-person assistance is critical to connecting individuals and families with quality, affordable health coverage that best meets their needs.” Navigators are trained individuals and...
GROW SD Featured in NeighborWorks America Book

Sunday, October 30, 2016

NeighborWorks America recently published NeighborWorks Works: Practical Solutions from America’s Community Development Network.  The book, published in December 2016, inlcudes GROW South Dakota. The book consists of case studies of the outstanding work being done in community development, as well as innovative solutions in affordable housing.  The strength of the NeighborWorks network and GROW SD’s experience and peer-to-peer resources allow it to not only leverage expertise, but also build an elite solution-based platform to improve lives and strengthen communities to overcome even the toughest of challenges.   The GROW SD case study in the book focuses on its work with regional partners to promote...
Customer Service: What to Do When Things Go Wrong

Monday, October 24, 2016

by Kelly Weaver, Small Business Development Center Regional Director As we embark on the busiest retail season of the year, a focus on customer service is important.  Let’s face it, no matter how well trained your staff, things can still go wrong.  While companies providing good service try to limit those occurrences as much as possible, a company can truly set themselves apart by the way a bad situation is handled.  Your response could be the difference between winning over a customer for life and creating a vocal detractor of your business.  Here are some specific steps to Professional Recovery – how...
Beautification Projects Take Shape in Sisseton

Monday, September 19, 2016

A soaring bald eagle will soon grace the north wall of the former Boys and Girls Club on Oak Street. GROW South Dakota, which owns the building, received a grant from the Sisseton Economic Development Corporation to upgrade its façade and has engaged Sisseton Middle School visual arts teacher Alexis Monroe and Nick Blaske to produce a mural that represents the diversity of the Sisseton community. The mural will depict a bald eagle flying against a multi-colored sunrise. In describing the design, Ms. Monroe said, “We chose an eagle design for its symbolism: our national bird, a ruler of the skies,...
Regional Roundtable Serves Northeastern South Dakota

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Yesterday, the Regional Roundtable welcomed the Governor’s Office of Economic Development Commissioner Scott Stern. The recently appointed Commissioner addressed the group and took time to answer questions and listen to group concerns. The Commissioner was joined by Deputy Commissioner Aaron Scheible, Research and Community Development Director Joe Fiala, and Finance Director Cassie Stoeser. For several years, GROW SD has facilitated quarterly Regional Roundtable meetings of the group in northeastern South Dakota. Dozens of leaders attend these impactful meetings, which typically include one or two speakers on topics relevant to rural development, followed by discussion and roundtable sharing. Participants share challenges and learn...
GROW South Dakota Participates in Media Relations Program

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Early this summer, NeigborWorks America notified GROW SD that it had been selected to participate in its regional media relations program. In the program, the NeighborWorks media relations team will work with GROW SD and other network organizations to cultivate editorial and news coverage in print, online and broadcast outlets. Loan officer Rebecca Honl, who also leads GROW SD’s marketing and public relations efforts, is the point person for the project and will participate in a national kickoff in September to launch the program. Honl will also attend a national editorial planning meeting at NeighborWorks in Washington D.C. at the end...
Preparing for the New Overtime Rule Change

Monday, August 15, 2016

by Kelly Weaver, Small Business Development Center Regional Director So you’ve heard about the new overtime rules going into place, right?  If not, the key change to be aware of is a doubling of the salary test from $455 to $913 per week effective December 1, 2016.  How do you go about figuring out what it means for your business?  Here’s a few steps to get you started. No salaried employees in your business?  No problem.  Keep paying overtime as required; this rule change does not affect you. If you have any salaried employees that fall below the new threshold salary of $47,476...
South Dakota Community Needs

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Every few years, GROW South Dakota conducts a survey of South Dakota residents to help it understand how citizens view their state and how GROW SD might contribute through its programs and services. We are still collecting responses for our 2016 Needs Assessment Survey, but it may be interesting to take a look at some of the results found so far. Looking at their communities, respondents rated the need for a variety of types of programs, products, and services. The following were ranked as the greatest needs by combining ratings as high or moderate needs. Business counseling/training Business loan to start or expand...
“Picturing South Dakota” Facebook Photo Contest Winners Named

Monday, August 01, 2016

GROW South Dakota, the statewide community development nonprofit, has announced the winners of its “Picturing South Dakota” photo contest, which invited South Dakotans to submit a photo of their favorite place in the state. Christine Feltes of Yankton won with a photo she called “Beautiful Clouds over Yankton’s Two Bridges.” As the winner, the Yankton Homeless Shelter, the organization she chose, will receive a $50 Pay-It-Forward donation from GROW SD. About her winning entry, Christine said, “I took the photo one evening as I was out for an evening stroll. The cloud formations that evening were beautiful and very unique. I...
New Overtime Rules to Affect 9,000 South Dakotans and Their Employers This Year

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

by Kelly Weaver, Small Business Development Center Regional Director   In one of the more significant changes of labor laws in recent history, small businesses could be impacted greatly by the new overtime rules that go into effect December 1, 2016.  Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act exempts certain white collar workers from overtime requirements based on a duties test and a salary threshold.  While the duties test has not changed, the salary level for this exemption will nearly double on December 1 from $455 per week to $913 per week (or $47,476 per year).   It is estimated that this change will...
GROW SD Earns FHA Designation

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

GROW South Dakota has received approval from the Federal Housing Administration to provide down payment closing cost assistance to FHA-qualified homebuyers. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Denver Homeownership Center notified GROW SD of its new status in June. GROW SD has limited funding designated for down payment assistance in South Dakota’s urban areas of Sioux Falls and Rapid City. Homebuyers in those cities may be eligible for up to $10,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance – a 0% interest deferred mortgage for the purchase of an owner occupied principal residence. For more information on the down payment...
GROW South Dakota Launches “Picturing South Dakota” Facebook Photo Contest

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

GROW South Dakota, a statewide community development nonprofit, is launching “Picturing South Dakota,” a photo contest on its Facebook page. Beginning July 15, the agency invites South Dakotans to take a photo of their favorite place or thing in their South Dakota community and submit it to the contest. In the spirit of community development, the winner will choose a non-profit of their choice to receive a $50 donation from GROW South Dakota.   Picturing South Dakota runs from July 15 through July 25. Contestants must email their photos to and include a brief caption for the photo. GROW SD will...
2015 BUSH PRIZE Winner Video

Monday, April 11, 2016

On November 10, 2015, GROW South Dakota was one of eight organizations in the Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota region to be awarded the Bush Prize for Community Innovation from the Bush Foundation.  This prestigious annual award honors and supports innovative organizations with a track record of making great ideas happen. This is a tremendous opportunity for GROW South Dakota to celebrate our breakthroughs in addressing rural community needs more effectively, equitably and sustainably.    As a winner of the Bush Prize, GROW South Dakota receives a package of recognition, networking opportunities to create new partnerships, and a grant of...
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The GROW South Dakota Organizations Have had a Remarkable Few Years!

Grow South Dakota celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017 and deployed more than $5 million in down payment assistance to hundreds of homebuyers in less than two years.

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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