Technology has become a very important aspect of everyday life. Families, schools, governments, and businesses all use some form of technology to reach people and disseminate information or services.
Rural communities like Burke, South Dakota, were among the many communities that needed to upgrade their technology systems during the pandemic and keep business going. The Burke Business Promotion Corporation is a nonprofit whose mission is to create, sustain, and promote economic development, and saw there was an opportunity to help the businesses in their community.
“Many rural businesses lack the knowledge and resources for the digital presence customers expect now,” said Kelsea Sutton, a member of the Board of Directors for the Burke Business Promotion Corporation. “This was clearer than ever during Covid. We wanted to incentivize and help businesses with their branding, social media, and websites.”
The Burke Business Corporation assists nine Burke area businesses, but with limited volunteers and a small budget the organization needed extra resources for this project. In July 2021, the Burke Business Promotion Corporation was awarded a USDA Rural Business Development Grant for Technical Assistance, which helps startups, nonprofit projects, and business expansions.
“Our organization was proud that we were able to help so many different businesses with the grant money. This helped each business look more professional, reach a wider audience, and have different kinds of streamlined functions online," said Sutton. "It can be hard to convince busy small business owners to make the investment of time and money that it takes to update their logo, launch a new social media page, or have a retail website. The grant is a huge factor in businesses taking that step.”
This project created nine training opportunities for Burke, South Dakota businesses, and with the help from RD, the Burke Business Promotion Corporation can continue to support their community in addressing community problems like access to childcare, infrastructure, housing, and wellness.
Find out how RD can assist your rural business or cooperative by visiting the Rural Business Development Grant Program page for more information.