New Zeal program targets student entrepreneurs

Deadline to apply is March 24

This piece is brought to you by the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.

Six South Dakota universities are partnering with the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship to offer a new program designed for undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs.

Image of Zeal logo

The Zeal to Launch program is a 10-week intensive boot camp being held this summer. It offers mentorship, business development and business connections to student-founded, early stage companies.

“In the end, the students will have the opportunity to pitch to investors or have a pathway to a bank for loan startup funds,” said Pam Homan, executive director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Augustana University and a member of the Zeal board of directors.

“These students will go through perfecting their business model while receiving co-working space at Zeal.”

The following universities supporting the program each received one slot for a student-founded business to complete the accelerator:

  • Augustana University.
  • Dakota State University.
  • Dakota Wesleyan University.
  • South Dakota State University.
  • University of Sioux Falls.
  • University of South Dakota.

Four additional slots will be awarded to students from those schools through a lottery.

“The schools said ‘This is too good to be true’ when I told them ‘We’re not asking you for money. We’re asking you to share faculty who might want to present information at the sessions and to get your best qualified candidate to participate,’ ” Homan said.

Matt Willard, a 25-year business development veteran and partner in The Funding Farm investment company, will serve as program facilitator. He will coordinate the content, delivery and development of a professional partner network.

“He has a phenomenal background,” Homan said.

The deadline to apply is March 24. Workshops start in April, and the 10-week program starts June 12.  All applicants must be a current or spring 2017 graduate of one of the participating schools.

For more information, email



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New Zeal program targets student entrepreneurs

The Zeal to Launch program is a 10-week intensive boot camp being held this summer.

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