Workforce is top concern for South Dakota businesses, according to report

The top need for small businesses in South Dakota is finding quality employees, according to a report recently released by the Center for Rural Affairs and South Dakota State University. Owners also identified employee quantity issues as the leading growth inhibitor.

“The Rushmore State – Carving out a Business Profile: 2017 South Dakota Small Business Needs Assessment Results,” is authored by Dr. Patricia Ahmed, lecturer at South Dakota State University; and Dena R. Beck, former senior project leader and loan specialist of the Center for Rural Affairs.

The authors conducted a survey in spring 2017, gathering information from South Dakota small business owners and resource providers to identify strengths and areas that need attention. They received 423 responses, representing 92 percent of counties in South Dakota.

“Job growth is critically dependent on new business formation,” Beck said. “If businesses do not have the workforce they need, they will struggle to grow. Providers must be aware of this and continue to watch, evaluate, and communicate with businesses to identify their workforce needs.”

In addition, both aspiring and existing business owners cited the lack of high-speed internet access as a startup difficulty, current business need, and growth inhibitor.

Survey questions were based on financing, startup needs, current needs, business growth inhibitors, and training and technology needs.

“To ensure business owners are offered the products and services they need, it is imperative to simply ask,” Dr. Ahmed said. “As citizens, large business owners, and business lenders and providers, we need to pay attention to those needs and assist if we want our downtowns, communities, and local economies to thrive.”

Partnering organizations were instrumental in distributing the survey to desired audiences. Those partners include Dakota Resources and East River Electric’s Rural Electric Economic Development.

For more information and to view “The Rushmore State – Carving out a Business Profile: 2017 South Dakota Small Business Needs Assessment Results,” visit cfra.org/publications/SouthDakotaSmallBusinessNeeds.