Internet innovation was the topic at hand during a small business crawl in downtown Sioux Falls. It showed local and national internet experts how the web is creating jobs and helping attract new customers.
The internet is an essential tool for many businesses. At Blend Interactive in downtown Sioux Falls, they help companies find ways to branch out using the web.
"We didn't necessarily set out to create a large organization and jobs for people but we realized we had so much work, we couldn't do it ourselves. So we had to hire people," Creative Director Karla Santi said.
It's that growth that Senator John Thune likes to see in KELOLAND. He spoke today about keeping regulations low so people with internet-inspired ideas can thrive. It's a sentiment Michael Beckerman with the Internet Association, whose member companies include AOL and Facebook, shares.
"It's very exciting to see the things that are happening here in our economy in South Dakota. We just want to make sure that we stay out of the way because there are a lot of people with good ideas, entrepreneurs, who want to innovate. Companies like those that Michael represents are extraordinary leaders in that field but we've got them right here in our midst in South Dakota and that's what's really exciting," Thune said.
Thune adds a free and open internet helps companies like the ones on Phillips Avenue. Today, Blend Interactive is almost 10 years old and employs 17 people. The small business has clients in KELOLAND and across the country. They couldn't do it without the web and with net neutrality a hot topic these days at the FCC, Blend wanted to make sure the commissioners on hand knew how important the service is to them.
"This is our passion and if we wanted to do it then we'd have to move elsewhere so obviously it's critical that everybody has internet and high speed internet so we can use those tools properly," Santi said.
After visiting Blend Interactive, the group made their way to Chelsea's Boutique and CH Patisserie.