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Regional program to support business start-ups and growth develops along I-29 corridor

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 4:34 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Ten years ago when Matt Paulson started MarketBeat, a financial media company that provides information to stock investors, he admits, there was a lot to learn.

“I started my business when I was a student at Dakota State, and there really weren’t many resources out there,” said Paulson. “None of my fellow students were starting businesses so it was really me being on an island by myself.”

After a decade of overcoming failures and discovering successes, Paulson wants to give back.

“That’s giving me a lot of empathy and commitment to help the people that are getting your business started now, to kind of avoid a lot of the parties that I felt along the way,” said Paulson.

Although there are many entrepreneurial organizations dotted across the midwestern map, there’s nothing tying them together regionally. Paulson would like to see a collaboration of support for business growth and start-ups along the I-29 corridor.

“So the concept is to create a network of these organizations that can provide a broader level of resources to startup founders in each community, mentors, education, capital, and community that can serve businesses really at any stage,” said Paulson.

At the DSU Paulson center, Katherine Cota sees the benefits of those with experience helping those just getting started.

“It goes to the theory of rising tide lifts all boats, meaning that if we can improve the business environment here in South Dakota.,” said Cota. “It will help improve all of the businesses and they will benefit.”

Cota, the DSU Director of Economic Development, says other Universities are partnering in the effort.

“We are pleased to be able to work with the other universities in South Dakota coming together to help create a better environment that’s going to benefit all of the entrepreneurs of South Dakota,” said Cota.

Starting a business can often be an isolating effort, with few who can relate to the challenges. The mentorship of this regional group can help.

“Because you have a group of people that you relate to when normally you would have no one else to relate to,” said Paulson.

“The incredible importance of having somebody who’s been there before, who’s faced this challenge before to help give us guidance,” said Cota

40 people have already signed up to be a part of the program that is still a work in progress, fine-tuning their vision, and finding a name.

“If you’re a small business, you’re a technology startup and you are trying to be more successful and bigger than you are today,” said Paulson. “This network that we’re trying to create wealth will really help you.”

More information on the organization can be found through Startup Sioux Falls and Dakota State University’s Paulson Center.

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