Investors give $2 million boost to entrepreneurs - KOTA Territory News

Investors give $2 million boost to entrepreneurs, startup companies

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submitted by Benjamin Snow, Rapid City Economic Development Partnership

Entrepreneurs in the Rushmore Region have a new resource to help them take their concept from dream to reality. The Rapid City Economic Development Partnership, in conjunction with the South Dakota Enterprise Institute (EI) and its regional economic development allies, is launching Black Hills Regional Angel Fund, LLC which will provide financial resources for local startup companies that exhibit potential for growth and high economic impact.

"This angel fund will allow us to provide local entrepreneurs with startup capital so they can secure additional funding resources to get off the ground," said Benjamin Snow, President of the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership. "We've operated our grant and loan program with much success and this gives us another important economic development tool to encourage the growth of small businesses."

Black Hills Regional Angel Fund, LLC is completely funded with local money from accredited private investors in the Black Hills and will be used for companies wanting to start in Rapid City and the surrounding Rushmore Region.

The South Dakota Enterprise Institute, a South Dakota non-profit entrepreneur development company, organized the fund and will help administer it.

"These funds—often referred to as angel funds—play an important role in the financing chain of start-up companies in South Dakota," said Enterprise Institute executive director Tim Weelborg.

"This is going to be a great tool for economic development in the Black Hills and the visionary leadership and support of the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership and other business leaders are what really made this angel fund a reality."

"Having early stage money is one of the keys to spinning technologies out of the School of Mines and into companies that create good jobs," said Heather Wilson, President of the South Dakota School of Mines. "We are very pleased that there will be Angels focused on the Black Hills."

Dona Leavens, Regional Director of the Small Business Development Center, said "This angel fund will provide another valuable tool in providing strong support for local entrepreneurs and encourage company formation in our own backyard."

Tom Eitreim, Angel Fund Manager at the Enterprise Institute says, "These angel funds help to create new opportunities and broaden the entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Dakota, something that is vital to the continued growth of our state."

To date, Black Hills investors have contributed over $2 million to the fund but Snow is hopeful they will raise another $1 million in the coming weeks and months.

Entrepreneurs in the region that need investment capital are encouraged to apply by contacting the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership at 605-343-1880, Small Business Development Center at 605-394-5311 or the Enterprise Institute at 605-697-5015.

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