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Forbes: South Dakota's Business Costs Lowest in Nation

Forbes Best States for Business has again ranked South Dakota No. 1 for lowest business costs. In fact, in South Dakota, it costs 15.9 percent less to operate a company compared to the rest of the nation.

"We have attained this ranking for several years now, so we aren't surprised," said GOED Commissioner Scott Stern. "In addition to having the lowest business costs in the United States, we also balance our budget year and have fully-funded pensions, which just goes to show that we are responsible with our fiances."


What Are South Dakota's Key Industries?

And Why Do They Work?

Financial Services: 
In South Dakota, we strive to help Financial Services companies succeed. We have a longstanding regulatory climate that is beneficial to the financial services industry and leaders statewide make every effort to make South Dakota’s rules and regulations business friendly. In terms of Gross Domestic Product, the Financial Services Industry is our state’s top industry, accounting for 15 percent of our economy. Additionally, South Dakota has the third-highest concentration of financial services activity in the country.

Value-Added Ag:
South Dakota has a long-standing and successful background in agriculture. With a $20.7 billion economic impact on the state, agriculture is South Dakota’s largest industry. What's more, 98 percent of South Dakota’s farms are family owned, so adding value to products already being produced in South Dakota benefits both citizens and the state.

Entrepreneurs, small businesses and large corporations alike find that South Dakota is a great place for bioscience businesses. Organizations in our state are conducting cutting-edge research. We have a bioscience infrastructure that includes cGMP facilities, research parks, world-class healthcare systems and our small size lends opportunities for collaboration that you don’t find in every state. 

Shooting, Hunting & Outdoors:
South Dakota is an outdoor paradise for sportsmen and businessmen alike. We have a knowledgeable workforce that embraces firearm-friendly attitudes and pro-outdoor views, an established firearms cluster, and business and regulatory climates that can't be beat.

Advanced Manufacturing
With a presence in nearly every industry - ranging from agriculture to automotive, medical to technology and everything in between -  manufacturing is plays a key role in the state and national economies. In South Dakota, more than 1,100 manufacturing companies  employ more than 42,000 South Dakotans, making a difference in people’s lives around the world every single day.

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Let's Meet Up!

South Dakota economic development representatives will be out and about throurgh 2018. If you would like to schedule a meeting, please contact Steve Watson.
  • IDFA (International Dairy Farmers Association) Dairy Forum - January 21-24, Palm Springs, Calif
  • SHOT Show – Jan. 23-26, Las Vegas
  • World Ag Expo - Feb. 13-15, Tulare, Calif.
  • SIAL - May 2-4, Montreal
  • BIO International Conference - June 4-7, Boston, Mass.
  • Select USA - June 18-20, Washington D.C.
  • BIO World Congress - July 16-19, Philadelphia, Penn.
  • World Dairy Expo - Oct 2-6, Madison, Wisc.
To schedule a meeting or learn more, contact Steve Watson at or 605-367-4518.

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This is a publication of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. Commissioner Scott Stern; Deputy Commissioner-Aaron Scheibe; Marketing and Public Relations Director-Mary Lehecka Nelson; Editor and Designer-Jennifer Lambley. © Copyright 2017