Start Dakota, Episode 6: An Interview With A CO.STARTERS Alumni — Kendra Cersosimo

Episode 6 of Start Dakota brings us an interview between Startup Sioux Falls’ president Brienne Maner and CO.STARTERS graduate Kendra Cersosimo, owner of Kendra Cersosimo Creative, which provides professional social media, graphic design and marketing services.

Cersosimo participated in CO.STARTERS in 2022 through Dakota Resources’ cohort in Mitchell, as part of the SBA Community Navigators Grant. Upon joining the program, she had been running her business full-time for less than a year, though she had been freelancing on the side since 2018. 

“It got to the point where I either needed to stop spending all my nights and weekends pouring my soul into this business, or I needed to take the leap of faith and do it,” she said. 


For Cersosimo, figuring out the structural elements of running a business was crucial to feeling secure and setting herself up for success.

Though she has been creative since childhood and remembers, as a third-grader, saying she was going to own “Kendra’s Crafts” someday, by the time she was out of college, freelancing and running her own business didn’t sound that appealing. 

“I love stability. I love a schedule. I love a routine. So, being a freelancer was never something that sounded like something I wanted. It sounded unstable and out of my comfort zone.” 

Faced with the reality that her side hustle had the potential to succeed full-time, she dove into research, reading books, listening to podcasts and meeting with accountants, health insurance providers and financial advisors, as well as connecting with the South Dakota Small Business Association (SBA). 

She initially heard about the SBA Community Navigator grant program from a former employer, Laura Klock of Klock Werks, who was facilitating the CO.STARTERS program in Mitchell.

“I saw that Laura had posted about it on LinkedIn or Facebook, and so I clicked on the link to read a little bit more about it, and honestly, it seemed too good to be true. It was one of those things where it was like, ‘Why wouldn’t I?’ I have a graphic design degree, I have a master’s in project management, but none of those really prepared me to start a business. That was exactly what CO.STARTERS provided me, and so it was kind of a no-brainer to apply.” 


Cersosimo appreciated the diversity of her fellow CO.STARTERS participants and the different perspectives they each brought to the table. She also valued the insights of the various business experts who came in to present each week. 

“It was really fun to hear each and every business owner’s story, but also to get to hear from the experts on how to correctly go about these different areas.” 

That’s just the beginning of the conversation. Tune in for more details on Cersosimo’s business and how she serves her clients. You’ll also hear how she plans to move forward by utilizing mentorship and continued resources from the CO.STARTERS program, along with so much more!

Show Notes:

  • Learn more about Kendra Cersosimo Creative here.
  • Submit an interest form for CO.STARTERS.
  • CO.STARTERS Challenge: Determine your market size.
    • Complete your “fieldwork” before the next episode: Consider your market size. Are you selling locally, regionally, or nationally? Out of the total possible customers you might reach, how many do you think would realistically choose your solution?
  • Business Minute: Learn more about the South Dakota Small Business Development Center here.

This project is made possible through a partnership with Startup Sioux Falls and grant funding provided through the Community Navigator Pilot Program, powered by the SBA. More information can be found here.