History of Elevate Rapid City


Rapid City Chamber of Commerce is founded.

Rapid City Economic Development Foundation is Founded

Rapid City Economic Development Foundation is founded to act as a vehicle for the development of the Rushmore Industrial Park receiving federal funds earmarked rebuilding infrastructure and expanding real estate opportunities after the flood of 1972.

Rapid City Economic Development Partnership is Founded

Rapid City Economic Development Partnership is founded to improve the efforts of the Foundation and address retention and expansion of industry.

Rapid City Economic Development Loan Fund is Created


Expansion of the Rushmore Business Park

Black Hills Business Development Center Opens

Black Hills Business Development Center opens on South Dakota School of Mines & Technology campus

First formal tenant occupies office space at Black Hills Business Development Center: Evans & Sutherland R&D.


Black Hills Regional Angel Fund, LLC launches.

Chamber of Commerce Board Focus Group concludes a streamlined economic development effort is needed.

Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and Rapid City Economic Development Partnership boards discussed the possibilities of an aligned economic development effort.

Chamber of Commerce board approved the creation of a new independent organization via a joint venture agreement with the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership.

Branding and campaign development for Elevate Rapid City begins.

Strategic vision for Elevate Rapid City and 5-year goals established.

November 2017

Property Acquisition

Rapid City Foundation’s acquisition of property at 108 E. Main St. from City approval.

Elevate Rapid City goes Public.

Economic Development Partnership and Economic Development Foundation boards vote to merge under Elevate Rapid City.

June 2018

Ascent Innovation

Black Hills Business Development Center re-brands to Ascent Innovation

Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Partnership, and Elevate Rapid City merge to one organization.

Tom Johnson hired as Elevate Rapid City President & CEO

Groundbreaking of Ascent Innovation Campus

March 2020

Emergency Bridge Loan is Created and Elevate Magazine launches

Elevate Rapid City creates Emergency Bridge Loan Program in response to COVID-19; Inaugural issue of Elevate Magazine is released.

Rapid City To Go helped businesses promote their services online throughout the pandemic. Nearly 15,000 Facebook users participated within weeks of the launch.

Elevate Rapid City creates Child Care Loan & Grant Program to assist child care providers when schools reopened and parents returned to work.

April 20172021

New HQ

Elevate Rapid City moves in new headquarters at 18 East Main St.

Elevate Rapid City creates Downtown Façade Loan, Build Dakota Revitalize Grant, and Relocate Grant.

Leadership Rapid City re-brands as Elevate Leadership Institute.