SOUTH DAKOTA (KELO) — A South Dakota nonprofit recently won a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

How South Dakota Biotech and their nonprofit BioRise are planning to use the money from the Accelerator Fund Competition in Your Money Matters.

“This is a very big deal for South Dakota because it’s the first time we’ve had this type of synergy in the innovation space that is specifically focused on undeserved business markets,” Small Business Adminstrator Jamie Wood said.

The goal of the SBA’s Accelerator Fund Competition is to help businesses in rural areas, like South Dakota’s Native American reservations.

“To make sure the smallest of small, the ruralist of rural, those undeserved markets that typically don’t have access like a place like Sioux Falls or Rapid City has, that they’re going to get all the support they need,” Wood said.

“The purpose is to find out what are some of the gaps, what are some opportunities, how can we help them.”

South Dakota Biotech and their new nonprofit arm, SD BioRise, partnered with several other nonprofits in the state to apply for the 150,000 dollar federal grant, all with the goal of helping bring food sovereignty to the state’s reservations.

“To make sure they have the ability to really help produce their food, distribute their food, work with entrepreneurs, that’s why we’re partnering with some of these startup companies.”

SD BioRise will be investing grant dollars into two nonprofits already working towards these goals near the Pine Ridge Reservation.

“We’re partnering with Thunder Valley CDC and also Missouri Break industries located in Eagle Butte, they both have an interest in Food Sovereignty and also health as it relates to the reservation and how do those work together,” Joni Ekstrum, SD BioTech Executive Director said. 

They hope that with some professional coaching and figuring out logistics, the local start ups will be successful in the long term.

“There are people that are growing greenhouses or their own products and foods, how do you find who needs it? How do you distribute it then also?”

SD BioRise and their partners hope to offer some solutions to those questions and keep these rural businesses growing strong.

“How can we help support them, how can we leverage what they have, then these are mentors and resources to help them stay where they’re at and be successful where they’re at.”

The 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition distributed a total of 7.25 million dollars in funds to foster innovation ecosystems and advance research and development across the nation.