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Business Plan Competition Ignites Entrepreneurial Spirit in Cheyenne River Youth

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For the third consecutive year, a Cheyenne River youth has won the statewide Business Plan Competition at the 34th Annual Lakota Nation Invitational--an event that was once just a basketball tournament, and now has grown to incorporate activities from the arts to finance, according to Rapid City Journal.

The invitational takes place annually in Rapid City, South Dakota. On December 15, 2010, the entrepreneurial talents of ninth-grade Dupree School student Kaleb Shepherd earned her recognition as the winner of the Business Plan Competition, which was created three years ago by Four Bands--a nonprofit, small business development, financial literacy and entrepreneurship education organization on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. The competition was made possible through Four Bands' launch of a branch of Making Waves, which offers low-income students academic and developmental support comparable to that of the nation's most affluent communities, according to the Making Waves website.

"I've learned that entrepreneurship takes teamwork and allows you to learn new skills," said Shepherd, who presented in-depth financial information, distributed business cards and fielded questions from a panel of judges at the Invitational. Her winning title is preceded by RJ Lawrence (2009) of Eagle Butte and Jesika Garrett (2008) of Dupree, both from the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, making their joint wins a Cheyenne River trifecta.

Lakota Funds, the Oglala Sioux Tribe Credit & Finance Program, and the Office of Indian Energy & Economic Development also co-sponsored the Business Plan Competition, reported Lakota Country Times.