A podcast started by a group of students at the University of Sioux Falls (USF) launched its second season today with a special first guest—Mayor Paul TenHaken.
The From the Ground Up Podcast first launched during the fall 2021 semester of USF’s Entrepreneurial Team Projects course.
Led by Professor Shelly Gaddis, the course is a requirement for USF’s entrepreneurial studies degree. Focused on developing project management skills, students work together each semester to produce and launch an entrepreneurial venture. During the spring 2021 semester, the class organized a pitch night event, which ended up sending student-run ventures home with nearly $20,000 in cash and prizes.
From the Ground Up is a podcast where students interview local entrepreneurs about their business journeys. The students manage every aspect of the podcast, from scheduling and conducting the interviews to editing the audio, promoting the episodes and securing sponsorships from local businesses.
Tyler Hiatt is a sophomore at USF who is taking the class for the first time as part of his entrepreneurial studies minor. Each student has a specific role for the duration of the project, and Hiatt’s is marketing.
“As the marketer, I'm the person that's interacting with our audience on social media, and then also doing interviews with people to give us more exposure in the community,” he said.
Students who took the class last semester are able to participate again in different roles. Isaac Frandsen and Abigail Marti are two who have returned for the second semester and season of the podcast.
Frandsen previously served in the marketing role now held by Hiatt. To switch things up, he is now the show’s producer—gathering guests, securing funding and managing the overall operations of the podcast.
Marti, who season one listeners may remember as a co-host, has stepped into the role of content manager this season. This involves preparing the pre-production scripts for hosts and guests, developing the show notes and writing captions and descriptions for marketing and social media materials.
“The most challenging part about putting this show together was accepting how many separate steps there actually are to a podcast, but also to businesses in general,” she said.
“I've taken classes on the different things you do within a business, like marketing or management, but this podcast forced me to put all of that together, and in real time, too.”
Hiatt agreed, noting, “For me, this project really emphasizes compartmentalizing all of the different moving parts that it does take to run a podcast, which is very similar to a business in my eyes.”
Effective communication is one of the key skills that students take away from working on the podcast together.
“It takes everyone to be the leader of their role, and then for us to keep communicating between each other so everyone's on the same page. I think that's a very important skill when it comes to being an entrepreneur and running a business,” Hiatt said.
Another impactful experience for the students is getting to know Sioux Falls’ entrepreneurial community through interactions with guests and sponsors.
“Something I'm excited about is hearing more about the guests we have lined up for this season,” said Marti.
“I had the honor of being a co-host in our first season and being one of the first to hear their stories, and while I’m not a host this season, I’m still excited to learn more about the businesses in town.”
The students work hard to secure sponsors to cover the cost of each episode, as well as finding local businesses to provide gift cards which are used as thank-yous for the episode guests. Additionally, video footage of the episodes will be available on YouTube this season, and sponsorships will help to cover the costs associated with video production.
Episode sponsorships are $100 and gift card sponsorships are $25. Interested sponsors can reach out at [email protected].
Listeners can look forward to eight episodes this season, kicking off today with a conversation with veteran entrepreneur Mayor Paul Ten Haken.
From the Ground Up is available on most podcast platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.