Announcing the nominees for Hey Sioux Falls 2021


It’s that time of year again—Hey Sioux Falls returns on May 20. The annual event celebrates the trials and triumphs of entrepreneurship with a lineup of awards for local founders, startup champions, and more. 


While there’s never a bad time to celebrate the hard work of entrepreneurs, this year’s event feels especially fitting after the long slog of 2020 and COVID-19. In fact, the celebration is overdue—it was originally scheduled for November but had to be pushed to spring 2021 for public health concerns. 


“Running a business has never been easy, but it became much more difficult in 2020,” said Matt Paulson, founder of MarketBeat and one of the event’s organizers. 


“As we come out of the pandemic, it’s important to recognize that the entrepreneurial dream is alive and well in Sioux Falls and some founders are finding ways to thrive in the new business environment that we find ourselves in.”


Each year, awards are given out in various categories, including “New Startup of the Year,” “Startup Champion of the Year” and “Corporate Innovator of the Year,” just to name a few. This year, a new category was added to recognize the creativity and innovation exhibited by entrepreneurs over the last year.

Vaney Hariri delivers the keynote presentation at Hey Sioux Falls in 2019

The “Best Pivot” award will go to a business that found a way to thrive during the pandemic, despite having to rethink its model. 


This was a natural addition to the 2021 event,” said John Meyer, founder of Lemonly and another event organizer.

“I love Winston Churchill’s line of ‘Don’t waste a good crisis!’ For better or worse, the pandemic has forced businesses to pivot from ‘business as usual,’ and I’ve been impressed with the degree of pivot many Sioux Falls entrepreneurs made in such a short time.”


Nominations were accepted from throughout the community, and a final winner will be selected by a panel of startup ecosystem leaders.


And the nominees are…


New Startup of the Year

Helen’s Plan




Startup Champion of the Year

Karla Santi

Jodi Schwan

Eric Weisser


Small Business of the Year

Fit My Feet

R Wine Bar

Terra Shepherd Boutique & Apothecary


Corporate Innovator of the Year

Boyce Law Firm

Eide Bailly



Best Pivot of the Year

Good Night Theatre Collective

Grand Prairie Foods

JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars


Social Impact of the Year

ACE Academy

Hurdle Life Foundation

South Dakota Voices for Peace


Attend the event online or in-person

Hey Sioux Falls will be held on May 20 at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Sioux Falls. As a hybrid event, people can attend virtually for free or in person for $10. 


“We ourselves as event organizers had to pivot this year in making a hybrid event,” said Meyer.

Brienne Maner and John Meyer Present at the 2019 Hey Sioux Falls Awards

“Our goal is to capture the desire to celebrate entrepreneurs while also holding an event that is safe and accessible whether in-person or online. With the online component I think you’ll see we’ve upgraded our content and the show will still be spectacular thanks to The Event Company and Pinnacle Productions.”


However you choose to participate, please register online via Eventbrite ahead of time. There will be a limited number of in-person tickets, so don’t wait! 


Thanks to our sponsors and organizers!


This event is a collaboration between the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship, 1 Million Cups, and Startup Sioux Falls. Event organizers include the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce staff, the Zeal Center staff, Addie Graham-Kramer, Vaney Hariri, John Meyer, and Matt Paulson.


Additionally, this year’s generous sponsors include Midco, MarketBeat, Zeal & Startup Sioux Falls, the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Eide Bailly, Boyce Law Firm, SCORE, and First National Bank of Sioux Falls. 


Learn more about the event at