Brookings, South Dakota - The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has awarded the Enterprise Institute a $100,000 grant through the third annual Blackstone Innovation Grants Program. The grant is part of the $3 million Blackstone Innovation Grants Program, which targets non-profit organizations that strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems and support high growth entrepreneurs. This grant will fund the Enterprise Institute to create an Engineering Accelerator Pilot Program in partnership with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota.
The Engineering Accelerator Program will identify and assist high-growth potential engineering projects in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Up to 10 selected projects will go through an intensive week-long business boot camp and then will work with business experts and mentors over an additional six months. The goal of the program is to identify and launch new high-growth businesses and to create knowledge-based jobs in South Dakota.
Started in 2011, the Blackstone Innovations Grants are given in coordination with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s efforts to spur entrepreneurship around the world. Through the Blackstone Innovation Grant program, the Foundation is providing resources to twenty innovative organizations that directly support entrepreneurs as they pilot, expand or replicate programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities.
“Through our Entrepreneurship Initiative, the Foundation is committed to strengthening and supporting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystems globally through programs that enable the most promising new companies to remain and grow in their local economies,” said Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. “We view Blackstone Innovation Grants as an extension of that work – the organizations we support are helping create the conditions necessary for entrepreneurs to thrive, and we look forward to working with them on these important efforts in the year ahead.”
The grantees were selected through a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The twenty organizations were selected from over 550 applications, by a committee of Blackstone employees and subsequently approved by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s Board of Directors.
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.
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 South Dakota. Since 2006 the Enterprise Institute has organized and administers seven member managed angel investment funds in the state of South Dakota. These funds source deals locally and share with their sister funds throughout the state and region. To date the funds include over 130 individual accredited investors and have raised over $7,500,000 to invest in startup companies.