South Dakota Mines welcomes new partnership, homegrown business opportunities

RAPID CITY, S.D. – South Dakota Mines revealed a new partnership Tuesday that could translate to more marketing opportunities. Through the National Science Foundation, I-CORPS will help students and faculty learn entrepreneurial skills to help their projects get to consumers faster.

Sd MinesThe I-CORPS program was first started in 2011, and gives students access to a seven-week program where they will learn to “extend their focus beyond the university laboratory-accelerating the economic and societal benefits of research projects that are ready to move to commercialization.” Since it was first created, nearly 3,000 teams have been part of the program.

The school will receive over $820,030 in grant funding for research and training.

Mines however, is no stranger to marketing success. Student and faculty-driven projects broke records in the previous academic year. A record 15 patents were issued to students and professors, and 16 patents are currently in-progress.

“It is a critical interchange that is missed a lot in academia, because there is just this disconnect between all of the really good things we are doing in academia,” Associate Vice President of Research – Economic Development at South Dakota Mines Joseph Wright said. “And all of the problems that could be solved out there in the world. So, NSF, the National Science Foundation, has realized this disconnect and I-CORPS was built to bridge that.”

The I-CORPS program has helped over 1,000 start-ups nationwide. The team Mines will be part of is the Great Plains I-CORPS Hub, which is led by North Dakota State University. They also have partner institutions in Wyoming and Nebraska, but are confident in South Dakota Mines adding many more start-ups rising up from the program.

“The connection with customers is one of the biggest challenges. Just trying to understand, ‘Okay, where is my customer, how do I deliver this solution to them?,'” Wright said. “These are very intense programs where you meet with and discuss with customers what it is you have and what it is they need. And they try to fit the two together very tightly.”

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