November 9, 2022
This paid piece is sponsored by the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.
In a historic building downtown, three organizations are writing their own stories.
They share office space while finding ways to bring their services to more businesses and communities.
“It’s one suite, 10 offices, so we can see each other and see what’s going on and ask questions,” said Jesse Fonkert, President and CEO of the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. “We get good traction with it.”
The Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, which supports economic development in the communities of the greater Sioux Falls area, moved to the Harvester Building at 196 E. Sixth St. earlier this year. His growing team needed the space, and the central location “allows our employees to easily come and go and work across the region while having one place to meet, hold board meetings, hold prospects and really one.” create strong team spirit to advance our culture and make our communities better.”
At the same time, South Dakota Development Corporation was looking for office space because it had to move out of the former Startup Sioux Falls building, which was being converted to house the Southeast Technical College.
“We were looking for more and better ways to connect with other local organizations that share the same mission as us, and it just kind of came naturally. Timing was everything,” said Jennifer Oberg, President and CEO of SDDC.
“Jesse approached us and it was really what we were looking for, it saved us money and everything just fell into place.”
The SDDC is a representative of the US Small Business Administration in originating and administering SBA 504 loans – a program that helps small businesses acquire real estate with uniquely advantageous financing.
“In our previous space, we shared a building with many different organizations that we worked with. When Jesse approached us, it seemed like a way to keep that same sentiment and make sure we don’t lose those resource relationships,” said Brad Jankord, vice president of lending.
“There are so many great opportunities for small businesses in economic development, and the best way to learn what others are doing is to be close to them.”
In this case, the team of small business lenders and the team of business development specialists are literally steps away from each other in the same office. It has already led to recommendations on both sides.
“It’s been a few times that we can stop by and let us know what a company is looking at and whether it might be eligible for a 504 loan,” Fonkert said.
“And Jesse invited me to address his board of directors as an educational presentation, and two or three conversations grew out of that that resulted in deals,” Jankord said. “We both have great boards.”
And recently the office has grown by another tenant.
Sadie Swier, director of the SD CEO East Women’s Business Center, moved into her office a few months ago.
Swier had attended the inauguration of the other organizations earlier this year and the location immediately came to mind when she needed to find office space.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” she said. “Overall, there is great synergy from bringing all these organizations together. Thanks to SMGA meetings and free one-on-one business advice sessions from SD CEO East, there is more foot traffic to the office to help build awareness of our services. Personally, I’m learning more about South Dakota’s economic development system and how we all fit together in the entrepreneurial journey.”
The Women’s Business Center, which supports women business owners with business advice, resources, education and events, has become a resource for the organizations that now share office space with Swier.
“What makes Sadie so fun compared to what we do is that if someone has an idea and wants to take it to the next level, she’s open. And we’re a step or two down the road when you have an idea and it’s working well and it’s time to grow the business by buying real estate and building equity for the future,” Jankord said.
“Recently I got a call from a borrower who is a woman transitioning into her own business and through Sadie I had heard about the South Dakota CEO Women’s Business Center so I recommended they talk. Sadie helped her develop a business plan with the help of the Small Business Development Center and now the borrower is back with me wanting to buy a property.”
Going forward, “I look forward to more synergy, collaboration and learning,” Swier added. “Specifically a potential event, workshop or training that we host together.”
Together, “We’re really trying to put a team together so that it’s sort of a one-stop shop,” Oberg said. “And if it’s not here, we’ll be able to find what fits.”