$10,000 to start a business? That's available for founders in South Dakota as part of a federal grant.
The FAST grant from the federal government is now a full-fledged program in South Dakota. Dakota State University and South Dakota Biotech introduced their joint FAST Launch entrepreneurial program at an info meeting in Madison on Nov. 9.
It is open to all ages and any startup founder in South Dakota to start in the program and then potentially qualify for grants ranging from $1,500 to $10,000.
FAST coming to South Dakota is part of an effort across all states from the federal Small Business Administration. The goal of the grant is to help new business owners get their businesses off the ground.
The first part of the program is a bootcamp, held multiple times over the coming days.
The first one held Nov. 6 at Dakota State University saw founders jump into conversations online and in-person, from a potential food processing company to handheld gifts to marketing services ideas, according to DSU.
“This particular grant allows for small amounts of money that they can use in the process of starting their business, such as the $1,500 Customer Discovery Award, to help them really verify who their customers are,” Katherine Cota, the director of economic development at DSU said.
First, there’s the bootcamp, which already had dozens attend online over the past weekend for the first event. In the second part of the program, entrepreneurs go through a series of questions that they will end up asking target customers to decide if their idea or product is really able to sell.
Then those continuing and selected by the program continue with their business plan and can even go on, better prepared, to apply for the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Competition, which takes place in the following spring. The whole FAST Launch program will last over the next few months.
"It's not just for technical founders and it's not just for biotech," said Joni Ekstrum, executive director of South Dakota Biotech, about clearing up any misconceptions. "For the state — there’s several ways to have economic development — you can recruit them or grow from within. This is putting resources around entropy for those that want to stay in the state but don't know where to start. Let's grow within."
Dates, registration and more info are at: https://dsu.edu/news/2021/11/fast-launch.html
FAST Launch resources include the following four components
Bootcamp – a training program on how to start and grow a business and to develop and commercialize innovations.
Customer Discovery – Boot camp participants are eligible to apply for up to $1,500 to support a customer validation process.
Business Plan – If customer intent is validated, a participant can apply for up to $10,000 to support further development and implementation of a business plan.
Giant Vision Competition – FAST Launch encourages and supports entrepreneurs to participate in the Governor’s Giant Vision Competition, which features a winning business award of $20,000. Applications are due for the competition on Feb. 25, and from students on March 4, 2022.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: FAST grants offer up to $10,000 for startup businesses in South Dakota