USD student awarded $1,500 VCDC entrepreneurship grant

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Dustin Pratt, a graduate student at The University of South Dakota, was awarded a $1,500 Vermillion Now! grant from the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company (VCDC) to assist with business startup costs for Solid Rock Clothing.

Pratt founded Solid Rock Clothing after a trip to Australia where he discovered a variety of wool products and decided to incorporate them with other eco-friendly materials to create a new blend of highly functional and comfortable fabric. Solid Rock will use the fabric to create a line of T-shirts featuring designs from talented local artists. Pratt’s company has received multiple honors in recent months, including placing first in the South Dakota Governor’s Student Giant Vision competition, receiving top honors at the Sales and Marketing Executives Scholarship Competition, and being named to the N2TEC Technology Accelerator Program.

Fostering entrepreneurship is one of the stated goals of the Vermillion Now! economic development initiative. To address this goal, the VCDC and The University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business recently partnered to create a first-class entrepreneurship program in the region. The program includes coursework at USD and community levels, seminars, business counseling services and incubator space.

A photo of Dustin receiving the grant from Steve Howe, executive director of the VCDC, is available for download at Also pictured is USD Entrepreneurship Professor Lisa Bryan (far left) and VCDC members.