Brookings Gets National Attention For Entrepreneurs

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If you’re looking to start a new business, you might want to consider moving to Brookings.

A new national study by Entrepreneur magazine and Livability ranked the city as the 25th best city in the nation for entrepreneurs.

You may not have heard about the Brookings business Prairie Aquatech but it hopes to have an international impact.

“We take this technology, and we grow it to help feed the world,” General Manager Dennis Harstad said.

Prairie Aquatech is fishing for a solution to feed, well, fish, which will in turn help people around the world.

“Fish meal is the current protein source that is used in aquaculture diets, and it is becoming a limited commodity,” Harstad said.

Instead, Prairie Aquatech is testing renewable sources, such as soybean meal.  Harstad used to own a family farm.

“An important thing to realize is that back in 2011 worldwide, farm-raised fish surpassed production of farm-raised beef,” Harstad said.

The business leases its building through the Brookings Economic Development Corporation. It’s one of the tools for start-ups in the city.

“I would say Brookings is a great place for entrepreneurs,” Jennifer Quail said.

Quail is the Director of Entrepreneurs for the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Her position is dedicated solely to start-ups.

“We have a variety of resources available to them at no charge,” Quail said.

Quail also points out that Brookings companies have good access to the Interstate and high-speed internet, not to mention a large workforce of SDSU students. They’re all tools that Harstad says are great catches. Prairie Aquatech plans to soon build a new commercial plant in nearby Volga.

“We are pretty much out of the trial stage and now more in production mode,” Harstad said.

Brookings was the only South Dakota city to make the list.

The top spot goes to Alexandria, Virginia, followed by Iowa City, Iowa.


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