The South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) at Black Hills State University will host the Second Annual “Celebrating Women in Business Luncheon,” Thursday, May 12 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Spearfish Holiday Inn.

Helen Merriman, director of SD CEO says the luncheon is a way to celebrate working women and the contributions they make to our economy. According to Merriman, those who are inspired to begin or strengthen a business will gain valuable insight into the world of entrepreneurship, will learn more about the services SD CEO can provide, and will create networking opportunities.

Guest presenters include Leigh Kamstra, owner of Roma's Ristorante in Spearfish; Jenny Behlings, owner of Jenny's Floral in Custer; and Dr. Priscilla Romkema, dean of the College of Business and Technology at BHSU.

Kamstra, a BHSU graduate, who ran restaurants in Denver and was awarded three gold and two silver medals in food competitions, brought her knowledge and experience back to Spearfish where she opened Roma's Ristorante. Ten years later, she designed and built a new location for Roma's Ristorante. Kamstra was recently named the 2011 SBA Small Business Person of the Year. As South Dakota’s top small business person, she will be competing against entrepreneurs from across the nation for the title of National Small Business Person of the Year.

Behlings, owner of Jenny’s Floral in Custer, has been serving the Black Hills with premium flowers and designs for 24 years. She currently serves as vice-president for the South Dakota Florist Association and will be testing this July for the American Institute of Floral Design Certification. Behlings was selected the 2009 SBA Women in Business Champion.

Romkema is known for her strong support of BHSU faculty members in their continual efforts to be actively engaged in entrepreneurial applied research, publications, and presentations. Romkema was recently named the 2011 SBA Women in Business Champion of the Year, a distinction that is presented to someone who has fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of women’s business ownership.

Early bird registration is $25 per person through May 1. Registration includes lunch and a program booklet with a list of attendees. (Late registration will be $35 from May 2-5. Late registrants' information will not be included in the program booklet.)

The event is sponsored in part by: First Interstate Bank, Chiesman Center for Democracy, and the BHSU College of Business and Technology.

For more information about this event or about SD CEO contact Melissa Ehnes at 642-6435 or email Melissa.Ehnes@BHSU.edu.

The SD CEO, located on the campus of Black Hills State University, provides business assistance and training to current and prospective entrepreneurs from start up to expansion to foster economic development in South Dakota. The SD CEO is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). While services are available to all those interested in entrepreneurship, SD CEO focuses primarily on: women, Native Americans, the socially disadvantaged, youth entrepreneurs and women veterans.