Innovate SoDak

Strengthen South Dakota’s economy by leveraging

University resources to support regional industries.

Innovate SoDak is a program focused to boost economic development by encouraging businesses and communities to explore creative solutions with university technology, faculty expertise, and student talent. SDSU, Brookings Economic Development Corporation, and the Research Park have partnered to bring these resources to rural communities and businesses across the state. Our teams will collaborate with you through each step of the project to enhance a product, business resource, or community need.

Who can benefit?

Partnership of business concept.

If you are an entrepreneur

looking to start a business or a business owner looking to take the

next step in revolutionizing your business processes, you can utilize Innovate SoDak’s services! The program currently has special interests in these fields but can assist other companies as well.

  • agriculture
  • education
  • energy
  • healthcare
  • manufacturing
  • service industries
  • small businesses

Here are some guidelines to help you determine if your project may be a fit for the program. All projects are unique, and the criteria below is suggestive. Any business or community can submit a project idea!

  • You are a business or community within South Dakota.
  • You are a community with a population of 50,000 or less or a business with 500 or less full-time employees.
  • Have a critical need you may require assistance solving.
  • Have an estimated timeline of 6 month or more for completion.

How We Can Help You

Project Examples

Business person process and workflow automation with flowchart. Business Analytics Workflow Process Project and Research Concept

Innovate SoDak has partnered with entrepreneurs, businesses, and community organizations to identify technical solutions and growth opportunities to advance the organization’s business initiatives.

  • parking studies
  • electronic design alternations
  • assistance with identifying funding sourcing
  • product analysis for process improvement
  • product prototyping
  • systems studies - i.e., transformers heat study
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About the Innovate SoDak Program

Created in 2018, the Innovate SoDak program is focused on boosting economic development in South Dakota through leveraging university technology and resources to aid businesses and communities in their pursuit of creative and innovative solutions.

The program was created in 2018 as part of the Economic Development Administration’s university center program. In 2023 the program received an additional five-year round of funding from the Economic Development Administration. In addition to the new five-year grant, Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) and Research Park at SDSU are supporting the program with a dollar per dollar match.

The program is managed by a team of SDSU faculty and staff from the BEDC and Research Park. You can learn more about the program’s partnering organizations and team below.

About the Sponsoring Partnership

SDSU, Brookings Economic Development Corporation, and Research Park at SDSU entered into a collaborative partnership to support the Innovate SoDak program in 2023. The program had

The value of the three organizations working together has allowed for streamlined administrative processes, connections to larger economic development support organizations and resources, as well as access to other business support resources like the Small Business Development Center.

For more information on each specific partner organization, visit their websites linked below.

Who is the team behind Innovate SoDak?

The team is made up of SDSU faculty members and staff from Brookings Economic Development Corporation and Research Park. The team is comprised of:

  • Dwaine Chapel, Executive Director, (RP)
  • Matty Kerr, Business Development Specialist (BEDC & RP)
  • Rajesh Kavasseri, Associate Dean of Research (Jerome J. Lohr, College of Engineering)
  • Stephanie Mason, Vice President for Economic Development & Operations (BEDC & RP)
  • Stephen Gent, Professor/Director-North Central Regional Sun Grant Center (BEDC & RP)

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Past Projects

We are passionate about helping communities and businesses solve problems by providing tools and expertise that might otherwise be unavailable. Check out some of our pas projects to see how we might help you!

Technical Assistance

Looking to commercialize their research, Pioneer Biotech utilized our services to improve their protein purification processes for canola meal. We also helped them model different mixing conditions in fermenters, a project that was crucial for their scale-up work.

Product Design

LifeScape needed a system for the coordination of assistive devices that assess and address air quality in their facilities. They contacted us to help design this system. Thus far, the devices have improved the air quality in their facility making it a safer and more enjoyable space for their clients.

How the Application Process Works

Does your business need assistance with designing a product, accessing cutting edge technology, gathering data, or other processes? Submit an application at the link below to see if Innovate SoDak can assist you. The application requires some information about your business and/or community as well as the problem you are facing. Once you have applied, we can assess how we can provide aid so we can begin a conversation about how we can help!


Click on the “Apply Now” button to submit an application for assistance.


Allow us two weeks to review your application.


We will reach out within the two week time period if we can assist with your problem!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to view a list of frequently asked questions about the Innovate SoDak program.

General questions not covered in the Frequently Asked Questions document can be directed to the team by clicking the button below.

ask a question

Contact Us

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