New Sioux Falls entrepreneur brings unique expertise to Sioux Falls business founders

June 18, 2024

This paid article is sponsored by Startup Sioux Falls.

As a business owner, it can be difficult to connect with others who have “been through the same thing.”

But Start-Up Sioux Falls has new and enhanced ways for members and program participants to build relationships and get expert advice.

You can think of them as consultants for entrepreneurs — entrepreneurs in residence, or EIRs. These experts began working with participants in Startup Sioux Falls’ Growco program, and “they’ve brought immeasurable value,” says Jeff Hayward, program manager at Startup Sioux Falls.

“Sometimes the interactions just need a little encouragement. Or they might be very industry-focused. Or they might be more general things you should know as a founder, like what to expect in terms of the impact on your personal life or growth challenges. Each of our EIRs has a wealth of experience and is committed to helping other founders.”

Going forward, other Startup Sioux Falls members will be able to book a set number of meetings with the EIR each month, and founders will need to prepare an agenda for each meeting and follow up with notes and action steps.

“This isn’t a networking conversation; it’s about connecting with experts who can help you in a particular way, getting guidance, and acting on their advice,” Hayward said. “And then your commitment will open new doors for you.”

Let’s take a closer look at the current Startup Sioux Falls EIR.

Peter Burghardt: Founder, StringTree

Peter Burghardt is a leading investor and entrepreneur in the startup ecosystem. As the founder of StringTree and General Partner at IA Seed Ventures, he specializes in incubating innovative software and technology ventures that make daily life and business operations more resilient. He also served as Executive Director of The Batchery, where he helped significantly grow 200+ startups and facilitated over $100M in follow-on funding. As the co-founder of Nudge for Change, he is also committed to creating social impact through technology.

Specialized field: Management & Organizational Structure, Branding, Talent & Culture, Business Development, E-commerce & Digital Growth, Entrepreneurship, Financial Modelling, Forecasting & Valuation, Intellectual Property Management, Leadership Development, Management, Market Research & Analysis, Marketing, Public Relations & Communications, Networking & Relationship Building, Product Development, Funding: Fundraising, Grants & Loans, Startups & Early Business Plans, Technology, Vision, Strategy & Scaling including Bio, Agriculture, Finance, Advertising.

In his own words: I hope to become more actively involved in the Sioux Falls entrepreneurial community and share the knowledge I’ve gained working in early stage ventures over the past decade.

Bobby George, Founder of Apprentice Ventures

Bobby George is a design-driven creative leader who seeks to make a social impact. As co-founder of Baan Dek, he helped run the state’s first certified Montessori school, and as co-founder of Montessorium, he helped bring educational apps to kids and parents. Most recently, he led design, strategy and product initiatives at Microsoft Flip. In 2023, he founded Apprentice Ventures, which partners with exceptional founders to build lasting companies.

Specialized field: Branding, People & Culture, Content Creation, Design & User Experience, Entrepreneurship, Product Development, Software & Website Development, Startups & Early Business Plans, Technology, Vision, Strategy & Scaling including Bio, Agriculture, Finance, Advertising.

In his own words: I want to listen to founders, understand their ambitions, their communities, and think about how I can contribute. I want to bring value to your business in any way I can.

Melissa Johnson: Founder, Oh My Cupcakes!

Visionary entrepreneur and founder of multiple businesses, Melissa Johnson, owner of Oh My Cupcakes!, Sweet Cream Candle Co., and Melissa J. Creative, has a gift for seeing potential in others.

Specialized field: Branding, People & Culture, Entrepreneurship, Leadership Development, Marketing, Public Relations & Communications, Networking & Relationship Building, Vision, Strategy & Scaling.

In her own words: I am passionate about helping people develop their greatest strengths and talents, especially when it comes to understanding and applying the “why” of their profession. It is inspiring for me to mentor those who want to be mentored.

Patrick McGowan: Founder of Punchin

From delivering newspapers and writing short stories at age 9 to leading an entrepreneurial career where he most recently led innovation and change management for a major integrated health system, Patrick McGowan launched Punch’n in May 2020 to meet the need for people to join Zoom with power and integrity. Now, with advances in artificial intelligence, he’s on a mission to power more human connections across all technology and digital frontiers.

Specialized field: Management and Organizational Structure, Branding, Human Resources and Culture, Business Development, Content Creation, Entrepreneurship, Financial Modelling, Forecasting and Valuation, Leadership Development, Management, Marketing, Public Relations and Communications, Sales and Operations, Networking and Relationship Building, Product Development, Start-ups and Early Business Planning, Vision, Strategy and Scaling.

In his own words: I believe in Startup Sioux Falls and its mission: to empower founders, and if I can support others the way I’ve been supported, then I will consider that a success.

Paul Tschetter: Partner at Boyce Law Firm

Paul Tschetter has worked for Boyce Law Firm for over 15 years, focusing on construction and real estate law work in addition to assisting many entrepreneurs. He is the Chairman of the Board of Startup Sioux Falls and has extensive experience advising business owners on a variety of issues from selecting/forming a business entity to negotiating contracts, protecting intellectual property to planning ownership transitions.

Specialized field: Intellectual Property Management, Law, Regulation, Compliance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Start-ups & Early Business Planning.

In his own words: I want to support current and future business leaders who are essential to the health and growth of our community.

Next steps

Startup Sioux Falls members can book a time online directly with EIR.

“Ideally, we want people who are actively working on startups to connect with our EIRs,” Hayward said. “If they’re at the idea stage, that’s great. We have a great program to help them get to a level where they can consult with an EIR.”

Members can schedule meetings with multiple EIRs in a given month to suit their needs.

Additionally, those who connect with Startup Sioux Falls through other programs and special events can take advantage of EIR’s expertise.

“We’re going to be bringing them to various public events and possibly some virtual meetings that we have going on, so there will be other opportunities to meet with them,” Hayward said, “but we really want to focus on the value and benefit this brings to our members and investing in the people who are committed to the business and joining our startup ecosystem.”

To get in touch with Startup Sioux Falls, stop by their headquarters at 100 E. Sixth St. downtown or click here


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