Simplified: The South Dakota Black Chamber of Commerce (SDBCC) launched earlier this month with the goal of empowering Black business owners and being a conduit for connection to available resources and opportunities.

Why it matters

  • There are an estimated 3,000 registered Black-owned businesses across the state of South Dakota, but the folks at SDBCC think there are likely more, said Sidney Bazemore, director of communications and liaison for the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
  • The new chamber is basing its work in Sioux Falls, and the goal is to quickly expand across the state. SDBCC is also hoping to increase collaboration with existing chambers, including the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce and the South Dakota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
  • Bazemore notes that it's important to have an organization dedicated to supporting Black business owners because the existing chambers don't represent all of the businesses in Sioux Falls and across the state. SDBCC provides another point of connection for business owners by meeting them where they are – something especially important as the city and state continue to grow and diversify.
"South Dakota is very wholesome, very welcoming, but very, very – I would say – tight-knit," Bazemore said. "And in order to understand that, it's good to have organizations like South Dakota Black Chamber of Commerce to be here as a conduit for people coming into the community."

Tell me more about the chamber

The overarching goal of the organization is economically empowering Black wealth across South Dakota.

  • There are a few ways the group is looking to achieve this goal, including through advocacy, financial resources, education and connection to existing opportunities.

For example, much like other chambers, SDBCC will work to understand local legislation and advocate for policies that address the challenges of Black business owners.

The organization is also planning to have a very active calendar of events, Bazemore said.

  • That'll also include opportunities for business owners to learn everything from financial literacy via partnerships with local banks, to digital literacy and how to leverage artificial intelligence in their business.

What happens next?

The chamber is now accepting members, and has already seen businesses signing up to join since launching at the start of February.

More formal programming will be launching on March 1, and in the meantime, anyone interested in supporting the work of SDBCC or learning more about its mission can do so here.