Rapid City, South Dakota - Ten teams from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology are currently participating in a business accelerator program created by the Enterprise Institute and funded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The teams are comprised of mix of students, faculty, and entrepreneurs-in-residence. The South Dakota Engineering Accelerator is focused on high-growth business creation and the commercialization of engineering-focused projects from the university system and the general public.
Five students from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Charles Bonn, Johnathan Ackerman, Joseph Mowry, Daniel Andrus, and Evan Hammer, make up one of the teams participating in the Engineering Accelerator program. These computer science students are in the process of developing a mobile application which will simplify the system of communication between groups of friends when going out.
The team’s project is appropriately named Crowd Control, as it will allow friends to ease their experiences of going out in groups. “The idea for our project came to mind when a evening out didn’t go as planned,” explained the team. The logistics of getting a large group of friends can oftentimes be confusing, especially with group texts that can be frustrating to navigate. It can also be worrisome to get seperated from your group in crowded locations or to be unable to find your group in a large area. For these reasons, the team will be integrating features that will offer users seamless group messaging and GPS location of their party.
According to the team, Crowd Control has been in the works for about six months now. They chose to participate in the South Dakota Engineering Accelerator in order to help them further their idea and to be able to make potential users aware that Crowd Control will soon be able to simplify their experiences going out with friends. The team agreed that they most valuable thing they’ve learned so far in the accelerator is the different legal aspects of entrepreneurship that they must consider when launching their idea. As a team, their next business step is to develop their minimum viable product in order to test their idea in the market for their mobile app.
About the Enterprise Institute:
The Enterprise Institute began in 2001 when a group of business leaders and entrepreneurs decided to help identify and launch high-growth businesses in South Dakota. The mission of the Enterprise Institute is to encourage and assist the establishment of growth enterprises in the state. Since 2006, the nonprofit has organized and currently administers seven member managed angel investment funds in the state of South Dakota. To date, the funds include over 130 individual accredited investors and have raised over $7,500,000 to invest in startup companies in the state and region.
About the Blackstone Charitable Foundation:
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’s IPO in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries, and communities.