The Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company (VCDC), utilizing funds from the Vermillion Now! economic development initiative, has awarded Solid Rock Clothing a $1,500 grant to assist with business startup costs.
Dustin Pratt, founder of Solid Rock Clothing and a University of South Dakota graduate student, created his company after a trip to Australia. There 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 material to create a line of T-shirts that will feature designs from talented local artists. Pratt says his company motto is "Look good. Do great things." This motto embraces both the stylish look and the adventurous aspect of the shirts.
Pratt's company has received multiple honors in recent months, including placing first in the South Dakota Governors Student Giant Vision competition, receiving top honors at the Sales and Marketing Executives Scholarship Competition, and being named the N2TEC Technology Accelerator P
In addition to the Vermillion Now! grant, Solid Rock has been provided with incubator space in downtown Vermillion.
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 the university and community levels, seminars, business counseling services and incubator space.
"Dustin and Solid Rock is an excellent example of our entrepreneurship program at work," said Steve Howe, executive director of the VCDC. "The path he has taken from idea generation in a class room environment to product development in the community is how we hope to encourage and support people with great ideas and grow businesses in Vermillion."
Solid Rock is also providing benefits to existing businesses in the community by working with Lumo Studios of Vermillion to develop the natural dyes used in the clothing line.