Zeal highlights commitment to entrepreneurs, diversifying business community

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The closure of a popular restaurant in Sioux Falls highlights the tough times of uncertainty business owners are facing through the pandemic. Spezia announced it’s permanently closing. We’ve reported on many other businesses that are adapting as well as they can to keep the doors open. That may not sound like good news to budding entrepreneurs, but a local resource is offering support and hope.

There’s a long technical explanation, data, and analytics to sum up the Oxenham Group.
Here’s the quick version. Owner Bill McGuckin is essentially a matchmaker for employers and employees.

“When they do find the right job that aligns with their personal goals, I mean, what’s better than that,” McGuckin said.

McGuckin launched his recruiting and consulting firm at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship. It’s getting ready to move out on its own, but McGuckin says he owes his start to this network.

“Anytime you start a company, there are just a million things you have to do. And it adds some anxiety and it kind of keeps you from having your eye on the ball the entire time. We came into Zeal and we have a whole support team,” McGuckin said.

Executive Director Brienne Maner says that support for entrepreneurs has never been more important than now. Throughout the COVID pandemic, she says Zeal has tried to help the businesses that operate here navigate through tough times.

“Keep that momentum going and keep our network of people together and really our resounding message at that time was you’re not alone in this and we’re going to get through this together,” Maner said.

Maner says Zeal has a new goal to try to boost diversity and expand opportunities to Black, indigenous, and people of color.

“And how we can more so support those folks who feel like they don’t necessarily have a seat at the table right now at the business community and that’s something I feel very strongly about,” Maner said.

As for McGuckin, he knows a thing or two about connecting employees with employers. That helps him recognize his time with Zeal has been a perfect match to set him up for the future.

“When you’re able to surround yourself with good people and good mentors and you’re able to help put people to work the opportunities are limitless,” McGuckin said.

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