Recently, Forward Sioux Falls made the decision to contribute funding to the newly organized South Dakota Trade Association to better serve FSF investors wanting to participate in international trade. Prior to this campaign, international trade had been championed by the Sioux Falls Development Foundation with funding from FSF, SBA, SBDC, and the State of South Dakota. Two years ago, those responsibilities were transferred to USD and the Vermillion Chamber, but with the new support from the state, these efforts will now be handled by the South Dakota Trade Association.
South Dakota Trade will work closely with the business community to navigate international trade for South Dakota and has already secured a $175,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to expand South Dakota exports.
“South Dakota products and services are second-to-none and it is my great honor to work alongside Governor Noem, our members, our partners, and teammates to promote them abroad,” said Luke J. Lindberg, President and CEO. “South Dakota Trade will be a vital resource to our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and small business owners as they navigate an increasingly complicated global economy.”
The new organization will offer four programs:
- Free and confidential business consulting for small businesses looking to export their goods and services.
- Trade missions and reverse trade missions on behalf of the state to develop important relationships with foreign buyers and those looking to do business in South Dakota.
- The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) grant, which can reimburse a company for expenses related to growing a business overseas.
- Export seminars and courses that will enhance companies’ export-readiness. Classes range from beginner to advanced and can often be covered by STEP grant funds.
“Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States,” said Joe Beck, newly elected board chair of the association.
Beck, who is also the executive director of corporate development at Viaflex, an exporter based in Sioux Falls, continued, “We are putting together a team and programs that will enable South Dakota to capture more value across all industry segments and aspects of the supply chain.”
South Dakota Trade is funded by a variety of partners across the state, including local businesses, trade associations, economic development organizations, the University of South Dakota, and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).
In addition to Beck and Lindberg, South Dakota Trade’s board of directors will be comprised of four additional directors and two ex-officio members:
- Vice chair: Andrea Thompson, Vice President, International Programs, Northrop Grumman
- Vice chair: Holly Lien, Chief Marketing Officer, Pete Lien & Sons
- Treasurer: Jeff Griffin, President & CEO, Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce
- Secretary: David Kiesner, Director of Business Development, Millborn Seeds
- Ex officio: Sheila Gestring, President, University of South Dakota
- Ex officio: Commissioner, GOED
South Dakota Trade is a 501(c)(6) association that navigates international trade for South Dakota. The Association has offices in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. For additional information, please visit www.southdakotatrade.com.