Our Mission:

Empowering women and propelling economic development across South Dakota.

Our Vision:

To serve as a key partner in economic and workforce development in South Dakota providing comprehensive training and business assistance for aspiring entrepreneurs and forward thinking intrapreneurs.

Special areas of focus:

  • Training: developing, providing and/or recommending training, seminars and workshops to meet the needs of startup and existing businesses.
  • Counseling: facilitating how SBA might best serve client needs and encourage the best direction in pursuit of a successful business.
  • Technical Assistance: identifying resources for comprehensive training, mentoring and counseling to help entrepreneurs reach business goals.

While services are available to ANYONE interested in business, the center has a special emphasis on:

  • Women
  • Native Americans
  • Socially disadvantaged
  • Youth entrepreneurs
  • Women veterans


SD CEO Staff Members

What our clients are saying about us:


"I like the hands-on approach with the program."

"I learned a great deal that I can put into practice in my business."

"The presenter was excellent; very knowledgeable and helpful."

"Fabulous class- I would sit through it again!"

Our Awards:

2013 SBA Region VIII Women's Business Center of Excellence Award

Michelle Kane


Michelle Kane, Director

Phone Number: 605-642-6311

Email: Michelle.Kane@BHSU.edu


As director of SD CEO, Michelle provides business counseling and resource guidance to aspiring and established entrepreneurs. She and the SD CEO team are privileged to bring outstanding workshops, networking opportunities and conferences to professional women across the state while promoting entrepreneurship and leadership. Prior to joining SD CEO, Michelle owned Black Hills PR, a public relations firm she launched in 2011. Headquartered in Spearfish, Black Hills PR designed marketing, social media and PR programs for local, regional and national clients including three years traveling with a professional rodeo association.


She earned her bachelor’s degree in Advertising from San Jose State University and is a 4 th generation Californian who says that she “found her spot” in Spearfish.


You can find Michelle at the creek, lake or pool with her son Jack, on the golf course with husband Mike, on her front porch with friends or in her garden, weeding and listening to podcasts.

Dena Sandidge


Dena Sandidge, Assistant Director

Phone: 605-642-6435

Email: Dena.Sandidge@bhsu.edu

Welcome to the team Dena!

Dena grew up in Spearfish, attending Spearfish High School and Black Hills State University.She has worked for a variety of industries, holding positions in finance, data collection and analytics, inventory, management, and marketing.The industries range from mining, education, manufacturing, healthcare materials management, retail, and publishing.

Dena has two children and an overgrown Pomeranian, Odie. Her daughter, Morgan, attends Grand Canyon University and her son, Lane, is a senior in high school.When she is not working, she enjoys watching her kids’ activities, walking Odie, hiking, traveling to warm places or anywhere really, and planting flowers.In the winter, you can find her reading, crocheting, and doing CrossFit.

Mela Cosme


Mela Cosme, Marketing Specialist 

Phone: 605-642-6948

Email: Mela.Cosme@BHSU.edu


Mela graduated from Black Hills State University in December of 2013 with a Bachelor in Corporate Communications and a Bachelor in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Photography and Graphic Design. In her role as Marketing Specialist, Mela manages all of our marketing and office administrative duties and assist with the planning and coordination of all SD CEO events and trainings.


Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Mela has claimed Spearfish as her basecamp for the last ten years and is fond of the local community and exploring the beautiful Black Hills with her black lab Loki. In the winter, you may find her at our local ski resort, Terry Peak, where she is an PSIA-AASI Level II Certified Snowboard Instructor with a Children Specialist and Senior Specialist certification.