RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV)
The Black Hills tech industry could be getting a boost. Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender is backing a proposal for a new incubator that will help start-ups grow.
"Rapid City is kind of becoming a hub for technology and innovation."
One of the most successful tech start-ups in Rapid City is B9 Creations - a 3D printing company that does business in over 50 countries because they print more than seven times faster than the industry average."
"We'd love to have a tech-friendly space that we can move to, right in downtown, that's still attractive to the employees we want to attract and retain, as well as the people who come to do business with us."
"It's something that Rapid City should have done a long time ago. When you look at most communities that have such a strong tech school like the school of mines, they have those type of facilities next to the school. And it's not just to support early stage companies. It's to attract big companies that want to be close to the students and close to the professors on a strong technical school like this."
A Forbes article published this year says South Dakota is one of the least innovative states in the country. Tech and entrepreneur experts here in town, disagree.
"The state consistently scores high on pro-new start-up type metrics because of their real advantages tax structure."
"There's a group of us that are hoping over the next seven to ten years we can create a thousand tech jobs here in Rapid City and I think we're well on our path to do that but we're not there yet."
Though it does have many young tech workers, South Dakota doesn't have all the talent to fill the industry's need.
"The talent aspect of that mid-career person with ten years of experience in a high-tech company, those are harder to find, simply because we don't have as many companies, yet. But I predict that that will change."
The tech industry growth has the potential to bolster Rapid City's economy.
Another example of the Black Hills’ movement in the industry is the DUNE project at the Sanford Lab in Deadwood.