2024 Governor's Conference on Economic Development

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Proof of Concept Fund


The Proof of Concept Fund is a loan program that will provide up to $25,000 investments for eligible applicants to conduct research demonstrating the technical and economic feasibility of an innovation significantly enhancing the likelihood of commercialization of the innovation.

Who is Eligible

Eligible applications for “Proof of Concept” investments include: entrepreneurs, universities, existing South Dakota companies, or other entities committed to commercializing the results in South Dakota.

How it Works

  1. Complete the program application and submit it to GOED.
  2. GOED staff will review the application, determine eligibility and contact the applicant if additional information is needed.
  3. Eligible applications will be reviewed for technical/scientific viability and economic viability. The Research Affairs Council, consisting of representatives from the six public universities, will conduct a technical review of the proposals. An advisory group of private equity investors and business incubator managers will conduct a business review of the proposals.
  4. The technical and business reviews will be will be used by GOED to make a decision on approval of the application.
  5. If approved, a contractual agreement will be sent to the applicant for approval and the proof of concept project will be conducted.
  6. Upon completion of the proof of concept study a final report will be submitted summarizing the study and indicating if the project will continue toward commercialization. At that time the investment may be forgiven or the repayment/investment terms will be instituted.

Basic Terms

  • Applications can be submitted at any time.
  • The staff of the GOED will screen all applications for completeness and eligibility requirements, and forward to reviewers  within 10 days of submission.
  • A matching cash or in-kind investment of at least 10 percent of the project cost is required.
  • Investment proceeds may not be used to pay the principal(s) or researcher(s) salaries.  Legal fees for incorporation and sales expenses and general business operating expenses are not eligible.
  • Investment proceeds may be used to pay, consultant contracts, material and supplies, salaries for employees in South Dakota, and necessary services for technical feasibility or marketing studies.


To apply, please visit the Proof of Concept page by clicking here.

South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development

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