Congratulations to the CO.STARTERS graduates through our spoke partner, EmBe

EmBe cohort

Through the SBA Community Navigator grant, Startup Sioux Falls has partnered with five spoke organizations to bring the CO.STARTERS accelerator program to underserved populations across South Dakota. 

One of those organizations is EmBe, a Sioux Falls-based nonprofit serving women and families. With the help of executive director of women’s programming, Megan Bartel, and facilitator, Rana DeBoer, the organization was able to graduate a cohort of 20 women in 2022. 

You can hear more from Bartel on Episode 3 of Start Dakota here.


  • Morgan Sorto
  • Katie Nelson
  • Erin Bofenkamp
  • Meron Horsa
  • Kristin Catlett (Haakinson)
  • Jacqlyn Wilson
  • Kellen Boice
  • Anna Cole
  • Kelsie Thomas
  • Sara VanLaecken
  • Tracy Schou
  • Nichole Cross
  • Kyrie Dunkley
  • Briana Iler
  • Carrie Thompson
  • Desiree Donovan
  • Kelly Nyberg
  • Lara Hanson
  • Kimberly LaPlante
  • Michelle Macias

Learn more about two of these graduates and their businesses below!

Meet Lara Hanson

Founder, FernRebel Studio

2022 CO.STARTERS Graduate - EmBe cohort

Lara is the founder of FernRebel Studio, an online shop where she sells artwork meant to inspire women to claim hope, growth and resilience. Lara joined CO.STARTERS through EmBe at a time when she felt she was at a crossroads in her business journey. 

Working through the CO.STARTERS curriculum alongside other women founders helped Lara test out some new ideas, such as art exploration classes for business professionals, that will take her startup-stage venture to the next level. 

“Sitting around the table with other new women founders has been powerful because building a business can be lonely. I also loved hearing from each of the guest speakers, who were other women founders who shared their experiences and insights. Listening to their stories and being able to ask questions or connect has given me confidence that I didn’t have when I started. Now, I have all these people in my network who are willing to share what they know or help connect me to others I can serve with my work.”

Meet Meron Horsa

Founder, 8th Street Bistro

2022 CO.STARTERS Graduate - EmBe cohort

Meron Horsa came into CO.STARTERS with a dream of opening up a restaurant where she could do what she loved — serving people. By the time she graduated from the program, she had a business plan and a clear vision for what the next step would be in her path toward opening up 8th Street Bistro.

“The most helpful part was sitting next to powerful women who supported me, knowing they understood what I was going through. The guest speakers were proof that with hard work, we too could someday be where they are. I would do it 100 times again, and I would learn every time. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”

Ready to take the next step?

If you're interested in joining CO.STARTERS through Startup Sioux Falls or one of our spoke organizations, submit an interest form today!