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South Dakota Ag News Headlines
Energize! Conference Coming to Lemmon in Spring
South Dakota Ag Connection - 12/12/2018

The SDSU Extension Community Vitality Team and community of Lemmon will host the Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference April 30 to May 1 in downtown Lemmon businesses.

Designed to energize South Dakota's rural communities by inviting them to network with community leaders from across the state, share success stories, get ideas and take action to improve their own communities; the conference will offer several sessions including: Funding for Community Projects, Entrepreneurial Experiences, Agritourism and Value Added Agriculture and Engaging Community Members.

"This event will have information for communities, resources and ways to become involved, as well as information for current and potential entrepreneurs," said Paul Thares, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist.

The event will feature Brent Comstock as the keynote speaker. Comstock is the CEO of BCom Solutions, LLC. Comstock is an entrepreneur, speaker and 23-year-old venture capitalist.

Comstock will share a message of tactical inspiration focused on building sustainable models of growth for rural America. In addition, he will have two breakout sessions where he shares information on engaging youth in rural America.

This event is a collaborative effort between leaders in the community of Lemmon and the SDSU Extension Community Vitality Team.

The idea for this event, Thares explained, came when members of the SDSU Community Vitality Team spent two days in April 2017 attending a Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference in McCook, Neb.

Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference, hosted by University of Nebraska Extension, offered an interesting venue twist: conference sessions were held in Main Street businesses.

In May 2018, SDSU Extension reproduced the Energize! Conference, with much success, in the community of De Smet.

"De Smet business owners and managers shared their entrepreneurial journeys, while speakers and presenters shared their experiences & knowledge on a variety of topics. The combination was powerful, with all groups learning from each other. The goal is to create a similar experience in Lemmon," Thares explained.

Comstock is an entrepreneur, rural economic developer, venture capitalist, and keynote speaker.

Since the age of 12, Comstock has served as founder and CEO of the nationally recognized company, BCom Solutions. In this role, Comstock has served as the senior digital adviser for local, state, and national political campaigns and billion-dollar fundraising initiatives. He is a nationally-recognized key leader for using broadband to connect rural America.

He used his company's success as a platform to dive deeper into rural entrepreneurship with the development of the Rural Impact Hub - a place for rural community organizations to partner together and collaborate ways to support and strengthen rural America.

More recently, Comstock serves as principal of the venture capital fund, Change Ventures that invests in early stage Baltic-region start-ups.

Comstock is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University where he was a Robertson Scholar.

To register or for more information on Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference, contact Paul Thares with any questions at 605-374-4177.

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