South Dakota FAST Launch


South Dakota FAST Launch Registration is closed until October 2023

Join the South Dakota Small Business Administration, South Dakota Biotech Association, Dakota State University Paulson Cyber Incubator & Entrepreneurial Center, and South Dakota CEO East Women’s Business Center for an information session on the FAST Launch program. The South Dakota FAST Launch program is designed to assist South Dakota entrepreneurs with beginning their businesses through workshops and potential market research funding or seed capital. Businesses may also compete in the Governor’s Giant Vision Competition or for SBIR/STTR funding.  


The South Dakota FAST Launch* program is designed to assist South Dakota entrepreneurs and small businesses with beginning and expanding their business through the South Dakota Giant Vision Competition and SBIR/STTR funding*.

NOTE: Applicants Must Attend Boot Camp (virtually or in person) To Apply And Complete Customer Discovery. Applicant Is Then Eligible To Apply For Implementation Funds.

Reservations required for each training session. To reserve a spot, e-mail with information on the date, title of workshop, preference for in-person or on-line (Zoom) instruction and your name and contact information. We also have numerous other workshops that are not listed here. We may offer them in the future. If you would like a specific workshop, please contact us and let us know. Additionally, we offer one-on-one consulting to help with your business needs. Feel free to contact us.

NOTE: Applicants Must Attend Boot Camp (virtually or in person) To Apply And Complete Customer Discovery. Applicant Is Then Eligible To Apply For Implementation Funds.
Applications are limited to first-time participants in the FAST Launch Program.
Applications for funding consideration must meet the following requirements:

  • A tech-based, scalable company, or

  • A company pursuing additional funding which enables the business to move forward, such as the Giant Vision Competition or capital investments.

Successful applications will indicate how they will use the funding to de-risk the business.

1) Bootcamp Info and Registration

South Dakota FAST Launch will conduct a virtual boot camp training program on starting and growing businesses as well as developing and commercializing innovations.

Any entrepreneur or existing company can register for the bootcamp.
This is the first step.

Business Bootcamp – A Seven-hour Crash Course in Starting a Business

2) Developing a Business Model: Customer Discovery

Participants of the bootcamp are eligible to apply for up to $1,500 to support a customer validation process.
During the bootcamp participants will learn about customer discovery and can apply for funding to support their proposed efforts. Only participants in the bootcamp are eligible to apply. The FAST Launch management team will review and approve applications for funding.
The awardee will need to submit a report summarizing the results to receive payment from South Dakota Biotech for the approved amount.

3) Write a Business Plan

If customer interest is validated, a participant can apply for up to $10,000 to support further development and implementation of their business plan.

To be eligible to apply the applicant must have participated in the bootcamp and completed customer discovery (this could be done with or without FAST financial support). The application would be a draft business plan that they commit to submit to Giant Vision along with a proposed budget and budget narrative detailing how they plan to spend the funds and how the results will enhance their Giant Vision business plan application and/or SBIR/STTR application. Applicants need to propose steps that can be taken rather quickly such as purchase supplies to make a prototype, contract for a prototype to be built, testing, etc.

Launch Lab (In-person and On-line)

Launch Lab is a multi-week immersion into lean launch methodology and the business model canvas. Business ideas are developed through a process of hypothesis testing and validating through customer feedback. Assumptions are challenged weekly by evaluators/mentors and the business teams are guided by the course instructor. At the end of the process, the business team has a minimal viable product that has been market validated. Attendees register for the entire series of sessions. Attendees cannot take individual sessions since the material builds on the previous session.  Registration is required by the deadline before the first class session to allow the business team to do the required pre-work to be ready for the first class session. Instructor: Katherine Cota M.A., M.B.A., Director of Economic Development

4) South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Competition

South Dakota FAST Launch encourages and supports entrepreneurs to participate in the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Competition, which has a winning business award of $20,000. The South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Competition allows participants to compete for cash awards, present to investors and connect with potential customers. The South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosts this competition.

Customer Discovery and Business Plan workshops by appointment for those who want that information.

Learn More about the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Competition.

5) SBIR/STTR Support

Participants should apply for SBIR/STTR funding to grow and advance their business. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, coordinated by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), are known as America’s Seed Fund. SBIR is the largest source of early-stage funding for American small businesses to advance promising technologies that address national problems in the fields of advanced manufacturing, health care, food production and safety, cybersecurity and more.

Learn More about SBIR/STTR support opportunities.

FAST Launch Flyer

Regional Meetings

Introductions to the program will be held at a series of regional meetings in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Madison, Brookings, Vermillion and Mission. Check back for updates and additions to this list.

*To be eligible for the SD FAST Launch funds an entrepreneur or business must register and participate in a bootcamp in November. They can participate in the DSU launch program and include funding for the registration cost in their customer discovery application. However, applicants are not required to do the launch program.   

South Dakota FAST Launch is funded through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

*As part of the grant process, those who submit an application for the FAST Launch Grant will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.

The Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program provides funding through the U.S. Small Business Administration to organizations to execute state/regional programs that increase the number of SBIR/STTR proposals leading to an increase in the number of SBIR/STTR awards from women, socially/economically disadvantaged individuals, and small businesses in underrepresented areas - typically rural states. FAST awards build the SBIR/STTR ecosystem through outreach, technical and business assistance, and financial support.