Rapid City, 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.
Enterprise Institute Executive Director Tim Weelborg said, “We’re excited to launch this pilot program with the generous financial support of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation to join the buzzing entrepreneurial scene at the SDSM&T and to assist in commercializing cutting edge, world-class research.”
“With The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s support, we hope to create a stronger culture of innovation on campus and spin out companies faster,” said Heather Wilson, president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. “This will be a great experiment to catalyze new business formation.”
President of the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership Ben Snow said “Entrepreneurship is a key component to growing our economy, and the Engineering Accelerator will strengthen the connections between the School of Mines and the regional economy. The ideas and technologies born and nurtured at the School of Mines will be captured and converted into viable local businesses, further enhancing the base of knowledge industries already flourishing here.”
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.