Ben: Yankton Entrepreneur
Ben Hanten is an angel investor and the chair of Two Bridges Capital, investing in a variety of start-up businesses with high potential, particularly companies willing to relocate to South Dakota. He co-founded Wire Me Awake, an entrepreneurial conference held at the University of South Dakota. Ben is a lifelong entrepreneur and is the owner of two bars – Ben’s and the Copper Room. He spends his extra time building the entrepreneurial ecosystem and mentoring startup founders.
“I’m a bar owner who works every day at a bar, but I’m very interested in anything that strengthens community ties,” Hanten says. “The thing that probably gets me most excited every day is anything that is specifically about my hometown of Yankton.”
Hanten claims Yankton as his hometown now, but he grew up about three hours north in the small town of Webster, S.D. Ben lives in Yankton with his wife and family.
Hanten’s dedication to Yankton was recognized earlier this year when he was named the city’s Citizen of the Year. He is the youngest recipient of the award to date, but Hanten says the award was especially meaningful to him because it validates his efforts to improve the community.
“A couple of years ago I kind of felt like I was working on small niche projects that very few people cared about, and over the last year or two that’s really changed,” he says. “That’s what that award symbolizes to me more than anything -- I feel like we’re talking the same language of entrepreneurship now.” Read more...
“I love Yankton. I’m not sure if it’s our humbleness, but we need to stop being afraid to say it,” he said. “I’m proud to live here, and I’m going to live here. I want to continue contributing to ways that make Yankton a little bit better.” Read more..