SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Running any business is a challenge, but what challenges do black business owners face in Sioux Falls? A pair of business owners in town shared their experiences.
Del’Inkka Beaudion opened up Swamp Daddy’s as a food truck six years ago, before transitioning it into a restaurant. She says the most challenging thing she’s faced was people being more concerned about the spice of her Cajun food, rather than her race, though she has experienced some racism.
“Some people look at me and whenever they say, well can I speak to the owner of the restaurant, and I tell them well yes, that’s me, how can I help you. And they’re taken back by, wait, you’re, you’re the owner of the restaurant,” Swamp Daddy’s Owner Del’Inkka Beaudion said.
She says those instances are rare, and that Sioux Falls has embraced her business.
“Being able to have food to connect people no matter what race, or religion, or what your beliefs are, I think helps bridge that gap between people that you wouldn’t necessarily encounter with on a daily basis,” Beaudion said.
Think 3D Cofounder Vaney Hariri says one of the two biggest challenges minority business owners face is networking.
“The SBA offers some things for minority business owners, but a lot of people don’t necessarily know that, and it’s a subject matter that wouldn’t necessarily come up with your friends that are white because that help is not for them, or at least they just don’t know about it,” Hariri said.
The other challenge, he says, is building trust.
“You got to be willing to go out on a limb, and get somebody to do the job and all those type of things. So most people in those situations are going to lean in on comfort, and people are most comfortable with people that look like themselves,” Hariri said.
Hariri and Beaudion say social media posts calling for support of black-owned businesses a step in the right direction.
“They want their community to represent what their beliefs are. They want the world to know that in South Dakota we care about everyone equally. We want to make sure people have opportunities to be successful, and they want to make sure that’s being reflected and I think that’s a powerful message right now, and I think we’re absolutely on the right track,” Hariri said.