Economic growth goal of USD Sitting Bull College partnership The University of South Dakota and Sitting Bull College (SBC), Fort Yates, ND, have entered into a unique partnership to enhance Native American college-level entrepreneurship curriculum with the ultimate goal of expanding economic development on Native American reservations. The University of South Dakota-Sitting Bull College Entrepreneurship Partnership is being made possible by a three-year, $300,000 grant from 1957 USD alumnus and entrepreneur Tom Aman and his wife, Danielle Ross Aman, through The Tom and Danielle Aman Foundation of Aberdeen. The mission of the USD-SBC Entrepreneurship Partnership is to help Native Americans start and grow businesses through curriculum development and enhancement of the current entrepreneurship education curriculum at Sitting Bull College. This curriculum will stimulate a business creation that is compatible with, and supportive of, the Native American culture.
"The University of South Dakota is proud to be partnering with Sitting Bull College in this entrepreneurial program," said USD President James W. Abbott. "It's an innovative, cross-cultural opportunity which utilizes the strengths of both institutions. It is an honor to be chosen as one of the two host institutions to implement such a visionary program, and we are humbled by Tom and Danielle Aman's extraordinary gesture.
"With alumni such as Tom Aman, USD will continue to 'set the standard' in South Dakota and move toward our ultimate goal of becoming one of the best small, public universities in our country," he said.
Sitting Bull College President Ron McNeil said, "This partnership will assist SBC in making further strides in meeting the college's mission of expanding economic development of the Standing Rock Nation."
SBC Dean of Academic Affairs Koreen Ressler said, "The partnership will help to enhance the current two-year entrepreneurship curriculum that the college is offering and will also assist the Tribal Business Information Center (TBIC) at SBC with clients interested in starting a business."
The University of South Dakota Foundation is managing the grant. The Business Research Bureau (BRB) at The University of South Dakota School of Business will host the partnership and provide administrative support. The BRB provides professional and outreach services and programs for The University of South Dakota School of Business.
"Mr. Aman's gift allows us to contribute with a significant voice to the dialogue that must occur to facilitate economic development in a multicultural environment," said Dr. Diane Hoadley, acting dean of the USD School of Business. "We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Sitting Bull College in a project that focuses on two issues so relevant to South Dakota and our region, economic development and multicultural, collaborative efforts. We look forward to meeting the challenges inherent in this important work."
USD School of Business faculty involved as participants in the program include Dr. Robert Tosterud, USD professor of business and Freeman Chair of
Entrepreneurial Studies, economics professor Robert Reinke and Stephen Tracy, director of the Business Research Bureau. Clint Waara, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, joined the School of Business in September and was appointed coordinator of the USD-SBC Entrepreneurship Partnership.
"Our ultimate objective is to make SBC the 'center of the universe' for Native American collegiate entrepreneurship programs," said Tosterud. "Perhaps the best economic development method or strategy is for Native Americans to start and grow their own businesses based on their own experiences and culture, as opposed to borrowing a cookie cutter strategy
from corporate America. What's unique about the program is that it will be designed by, supportive of and complimentary to the Lakota culture. I believe that the Lakota culture will be a strength in the creation of new businesses."
In South Dakota, 40 percent of all new jobs are created by start-up businesses, according to Tosterud. Entrepreneurship education, particularly college level coursework, has been shown to be a key factor in influencing the quantity, quality and degree of success of entrepreneurship activity.
The USD-SBC Entrepreneurship Partnership will include year-by-year outreach, teaching/learning and research objectives. The content of the SBC curriculum will emphasize the art and science of business creation within the Native
The pedagogy will range from traditional classroom instruction, to mentoring, internships, and international conferences.