Black Hills State University has been awarded a $40,050 Business Incubator Planning grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

“This is great news for BHSU and the entire Black Hills community,” BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp says. “A business incubator at Black Hills State University during a time in history that is ripe with opportunity for entrepreneurship will create very tangible economic development for our region.”

BHSU will use the grant funding to perform a needs assessment and to draft a formal business plan for a proposed Northern Black Hills Business Incubator on campus. The incubator will be designed to assist start-up businesses born from ideas generated on campus, from within the community, and from the development opportunities that come with the influx of researchers and investments in the Sanford Lab at Homestake and potential DUSEL development.

Barb Zwetzig, director for the Center for Business, Entrepreneurship and Tourism at BHSU, says the needs assessment and business plan are an essential first step in planting the seed for the envisioned business incubator.

“This grant advances us greatly in our planning for the incubator,” Zwetzig says. “Business incubators are significant generators of new jobs and creating jobs for the region is our ultimate goal. A recent study conducted for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration showed that business incubators provide up to 20 times more jobs than community infrastructure projects.”

When completed, the incubator is projected to create 35-60 new businesses and 250-350 new jobs in emerging industries in a five-year period.

For information about the incubator planning project contact Zwetzig at 642-6276.