JUNE 4, 2018 - VOL. 54 No. 8

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Strategic partnerships foster entrepreneurship

The Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship has established their reputation as the go-to resource for local entrepreneurs. Opened in 2004 as the South Dakota Technology Business Center, Zeal provides an environment, infrastructure and resources to support the development and expansion of early-stage companies. Area businesses have taken note of Zeal´s success and several have recently stepped forward to commit to long-term strategic partnerships with Zeal.

A recent investment from Interstate Office Products has allowed Zeal to open the E@Z Co-working space, offering entrepreneurs a flexible workspace and access to resources without a long-term commitment.

A separate five-year partnership with Midco© Business launched with the installation of gigabit internet on the Zeal campus on North Career Avenue. Midco provided the direct fiber connection and Zeal performed the internal hardware upgrades. Thanks to the partnership, the upgrades were implemented at no additional cost to the entrepreneurs and organizations operating at Zeal.

Earlier this year, The First National Bank in Sioux Falls invested $50,000 to seed an accelerator fund for emerging entrepreneurs. In addition, the partners committed to a joint research initiative designed to gain a deeper understanding of how to foster business innovation and entrepreneurship in Sioux Falls.

These strategic partnerships provide a valuable boost to the entrepreneur community, according to Rich Naser, Jr., president of Zeal. "There´s a tremendous amount of momentum and activity at Zeal," says Naser. "We are excited about the positive impact this is having on start-ups in Sioux Falls."

Investors note that they were attracted to Zeal´s strong track record of successfully supporting entrepreneurs. Since its inception, Zeal client companies have collectively created more than 728 new jobs and secured more than $172 million in equity funding. In addition, entrepreneurs associated with Zeal hold 65 patents with an additional 49 pending.

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