Posts by Andrea Van Essen

Failure Fest shines a light on trials of entrepreneurship

When it comes to inspiration, it’s often success stories that garner the most attention.  But a comment made by a local entrepreneur generated interest in an event that would highlight just the opposite—failure. “The idea for Failure Fest originally came from Josh Sopko,” said Startup Sioux Falls founder, Matt Paulson. “He made the offhand comment,…

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Organization Focus: Bird Dog Equity Partners

Founded by Paul Schock and Chad Hatch, Bird Dog Equity Partners is a later-stage private equity firm with a focus on the hospitality industry. While the firm has enjoyed a variety of successful investments since its founding in 2010, it’s an enduring mantra of “People First, Business Second,” that makes Bird Dog truly stand out…

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Organization Focus: USD GEAR Center

Home to the University of South Dakota’s graduate program in biomedical engineering, the Graduate Education and Applied Research (GEAR) Center provides students and startups with a state-of-the-art facility for research and collaboration. The university’s biomedical engineering program began in 2006, and it moved into the GEAR Center facility within the USD Discovery District in 2009.…

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Organization Focus: South Dakota Innovation Partners

Ten years ago, a group of civic entrepreneurs set out to create an early-stage venture capital firm with a focus on commercializing research. Today, they have built an experienced firm with a track record of transforming ideas into successful industrial complexes. The idea for the firm came from former South Dakota State University president, David…

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Global Entrepreneurship Week brings Tofurky founder to Sioux Falls

A panel discussion featuring Tofurky founder and CEO, Seth Tibbott, was hosted by Zeal, Startup Sioux Falls, and the South Dakota Biotech Association on Wednesday afternoon. The event, which took place on Augustana University’s campus, was titled “Riding the Protein Highway: a Plant-Based Panel Discussion.” Tibbott was also the featured speaker at the morning’s 1…

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Organization Focus: Falls Fintech

The state’s first fintech accelerator will kick off its inaugural 10-week program in March 2020, welcoming a cohort of five early-stage businesses to Sioux Falls.  Falls Fintech was formed in 2019 as a subsidiary of Central Payments, the payments division of Central Bank of Kansas City. Based in Dell Rapids, Central Payments administers payment cards…

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Meet Zeal’s New Community Manager: Kate Flemming

On Monday, Zeal welcomed its newest employee, Kate Flemming, in the role of Community Manager. Kate has a Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University, and she recently moved to Sioux Falls from Decatur, IL with her husband and young son. Previously, she served as the program coordinator for Millikin University’s Center for…

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