Meet America’s fastest-growing area of entrepreneurial activity—with a 69% increase between 2010 and 2011, according to the latest available Kauffman Foundation data. Some explanations from locals:
"We're a no-risk, no-return culture. Just look at farming. [...] People discovered they don't have to leave for San Francisco. Now they can stay to collaborate here."
Cofounder, Silicon Prairie News
"The youth equation shifted: College grads once fled; now they stay or move back. [...] The governor is pushing to increase entrepreneur education—for grade school, college, and beyond."
Director of commercialization, Governor's Office of Economic Development
"South Dakota State University's 44,000-square-foot Innovation Center has become the infrastructure that startups craved."
CEO, Research Park and Innovation Center at SDSU
"Other states may be dense with people. We're dense with personal relationships."
Cofounder, 9 Clouds
[Illustration by Kyle Bean; photo by Mitch Payne]
A version of this article appeared in the May 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.