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More South Dakota counties eligible for rural business program

There’s a new option to help businesses in several rural South Dakota counties compete with their peers in bigger cities.

The South Dakota office of the U.S. Small Business Administration is launching an updated map for its Historically Underutilized Business Zone – or HUBzone – program.

Companies in these areas can apply for HUBzone certification. This allows them to apply for federal government contracts set aside specifically for the program.

SBA officials said it's part of an effort to drive growth in rural communities.

According to SBA South Dakota District Director Jaime Wood, the program change allows state governors to petition SBA once a year to designate or redesignate specific rural areas as HUBZones promoting increased access to government contracts and economic opportunities in rural areas.

“SBA worked closely with the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development team for several months in 2023 to identify the most economically disadvantaged areas of the state that could benefit from the expansion,” said Wood. “We’re grateful to South Dakota Gov. Noem and the GOED team for their leadership and partnership in shaping the conditions for more South Dakota small businesses in HUBZone areas to increase revenue by becoming part of the federal government supply chain.”

The new map includes seven more counties: Brookings, Butte, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Custer and Lyman counties. That’s in addition to the 18 counties already in the program.