North Dakota has Pride

By Katy Kassian

Many people are already famil­iar with the blue and gold Pride of Dakota logos on products, but it is unlikely that they may know the diversity of this pro­gram.

After seeing how other states used “branding” pro­grams to promote local busi­ness, Former Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Jones helped found Pride of Dakota in 1985. The first year saw about 20 companies join the program. Today, there are over 500 members.

Pride of Dakota hosts classes and speakers for members, has a great web-site where customers can ‘shop’ from the various m embers, offers g rants for at­tending out of state venues and hosts nu­merous annual events around the state. That’s only a portion of what the POD (Pride of Dakota) program offers.

POD also has a weekly radio podcast on URL Radio, www.urlradio.net every Wednesday at 11 a.m. The podcast is also available on the POD Facebook page and on YouTube. URLRadio averages 3,000 listeners a day. 90% of the listen­ers are from America, but 10% are from over 74 other countries.

Pride of Dakota companies range from ‘Mom & Pop’ (Pride Dairy, Ce­darworks) to very large companies (ABC Seamless). Every one of them is just as important as the next.

Pride of Dakota plays a vital role in fostering entrepreneurship in North Dakota. The POD program does not actively ‘recruit’ new members. The majority of members join because they either attended an event like the Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase, or they already know someone who is a mem­ber. That alone says something about the program. There are a number of POD members that have said if it were not for the POD program, they would not have started a business.

Pride of Dakota reaches out to youth by sponsoring Pride of Dakota day at many North Dakota schools. Through this, POD helps to educate the youth about where their local foods come from.

With only one full-time employee and some extra part-time help, Pride of Dakota does a fabulous job in pro­moting business, entrepreneurship, and the great state of North Dakota. As a result, Pride of Dakota products are shipped worldwide.

Additionally, there are a few stores that sell primarily North Dakota made items for POD. Vendors who are close-by include Home Sweet Home (Minot), Prairie Creek (Gateway Mall), and Mocha & More (Mandan). People can also find some great products at the next Pride of Dakota Day at the State Capital on March 20 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

F or upcoming events or more In­formation on Pride of Dakota, con­tact Sarah Kelsch at 701-328-4766 or check out the Pride of Dakota website, www.prideofdakota.com.

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