Finance Programs

We have a variety of excellent financing and capital options .

Financing and Capital


Both states offer a wide variety of financing options to support your venture. Listed below are several, listed by state, and you can find additional information in our Smartbook.

North Dakota

As the only state-owned bank in the nation, Bank of North Dakota’s (BND) business lending programs are designed to participate with a lead lender on the financing to assist in the project.

The PACE & Flex PACE loan

Programs combine the resources of the local community and BND in buying down the interest rate on the loan. The BND portion of the buydown is a grant that does not require repayment. The community, in the form of a revolving loan fund called the Growth Initiative Fund, supplies the other portion as a loan that does not accrue interest or begin repayment while the buydown period is in effect. Depending on the project, a property tax abatement may be substituted for the community loan portion to constitute the community contribution. The BND buydown portion is up to $500,000 for a PACE project and up to $200,000 for Flex PACE.

Like the interest buydown of PACE, the Agriculture Diversification and Development Fund provides buydown grants for value-added agriculture businesses such as food production and processing facilities, feed or pet food processing, commodity processing, ag product manufacturing, and animal production facilities. Maximum loan buydown is $1,000,000.

The Accelerated Growth Loan

This program assists North Dakota-based technology companies with solid operations, good management and strong cash flow that are positioned for a period of accelerated growth or can show consistent monthly revenues above $50,000. These companies normally have limited assets to qualify for traditional bank financing. BND’s maximum participation loan amount is $3,000,000 or 9x the monthly recurring revenue, whichever is greater, with BND participating as high as 90% of the financing with the lead lender.

BND has many other loan programs, such as the Business Development Loan Program that assists businesses to obtain loans that have a higher degree of risk than would normally be acceptable to a lending institution; the Match Program that provides low interest rates to encourage and attract financially strong companies to North Dakota; the Beginning Entrepreneur Loan Guarantee Program & more.

The Growth Initiative Fund (GIF)

The GIF is a revolving loan fund administered by the GFMEDC. While the primary function is serving as the community portion of the BND PACE & Flex PACE program within Cass County, ND, a portion of the GIF’s funds are available for projects targeted at the emerging sectors identified in GFMEDC’s strategic objectives.

The Funding Partners Program can be explored with GFMEDC for projects that involve additional funding partners (such as ND Development Fund, Bank of North Dakota, etc.) and there are remaining financing gaps to be addressed. Projects will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The North Dakota Development Fund provides flexible gap financing to new or expanding primary sector businesses in North Dakota. Funds are available through direct loans, participation loans, subordinated debt, and equity investments. The fund invests up to $3,000,000 per borrower, with an average loan size of $300,000 and average convertible note size of $250,000. Funds may be used to provide working capital or to finance the purchase of fixed assets, but not to refinance existing debt. Funds may be used to purchase real property and equipment, expand existing facilities, provide working capital, and purchase inventory.

This program of ND Development Fund supports early-stage primary sector North Dakota businesses by matching investor commitments, through a convertible security or direct equity investment. Maximum 1:1 match to private investment of $250,000 per business, minimum match amount of $10,000. Total funding round amount shall not exceed $2,000,000.

An innovation loan fund that supports technology advancement by providing financing for commercialization of intellectual property within the state of North Dakota. The following industries qualify for these funds:

  • Advanced computing and data management
  • Agriculture technology
  • Autonomous and unmanned vehicles and related technologies
  • Energy
  • Health care
  • Value-added agriculture
  • Value-added energy

Any industry or area specifically identified by the committee as an industry that will contribute to the diversification of the state’s economy.

The use of the loan funds is available to enhance capacity and to the extent possible, leverage state, federal and private sources of funding. Loan funds may be used for working capital such as to conduct applied research, experimentation, or operational testing within the state. Loan funds may not be used for capital or building investments or for academic research, academic or instructive programming, workforce training, administrative costs, or to supplant funding for regular operations of institutions of higher education. The financing is an unsecured loan with 0% interest and no required payments for the first three years of the loan; then 2% with monthly payments for the next two years; and all principal due at maturity, at the end of five years. Upon approval by BND, the loan may be refinanced at the beginning of year six, at an interest rate equal to a standard BND loan rate for all subsequent years.

The ND Opportunity Fund, administered by Lewis & Clark Development Group, partners with banks to help small businesses and manufacturers attain the loans needed to expand and create jobs. A consortium of 38 municipalities across North Dakota received funding for operating their loan programs. The municipalities in Cass County are Casselton, Fargo and West Fargo. This fund is typically used as a gap financing tool to lower the borrower equity portion and/or the lead lender’s total loan exposure. They also have a Collateral Support Program, which establishes pledged case collateral accounts with lenders to enhance loan collateral; and may also be utilized as a community loan contribution for the BND Flex PACE program, if a letter of support is provided by the project’s city governmental entity.

Administered by Dakota Business Lending, the New Market Tax Credits program helps create capital that allows the lending partner to make loans and investments to businesses that generally have better rates and terms and more flexible features than the market. In order to be eligible, projects must be: Located in a qualifying census tract in North Dakota; The size and scale to be transformative to the (re)development of the distressed area; Adaptable to the unique structure and requirements of the program. For our region, view:

The North Dakota Development Fund's Advance ND awards "deal-closing" low interest loans to companies considering a new industrial project in North Dakota. To qualify, the company must be considering another state in the site selection process. Advance ND will serve as a financial incentive for those companies whose projects would contribute significant capital investment, add value to North Dakota resources, and provide new employment opportunities to the state's economy.

*Industrial Projects include value added energy, value added agriculture, and manufacturing projects.

Companies are eligible for up to $10,000,000 through the program. Award amounts are based on projects' total expected cost. The funding amount will also be based on the incentive package offered from the competing site(s).


The Minnesota Loan Guarantee Program helps enrolled Minnesota lenders mitigate risk so they can increase capital to small businesses located across Minnesota, by providing guarantees to enrolled lenders for up to 80% of principal on loans to eligible businesses. The maximum loan guarantee amount is $800,000.

The Growth Loan Fund program that provides direct low-interest loans to eligible seed and early-stage businesses. Businesses seeking funding through this program need to be engaged in, or be committed to engage in, technological innovation in Minnesota, and must be planning to raise equity in order to qualify. If they can achieve their stated fundraising goal within the next 12 months, the approved loan amount will be based on 20% of the total amount of equity investment raised in the funding round. Loans range from $100,000 to $400,000. Loans bear 1% interest, on a 7-year term. Principal payments are deferred until year 4, where at that time, loan payments begin based on 50% of the principal. At maturity, the outstanding balance is due in a balloon payment. If the business is sold, 10% plus the principal is due on sale.

With the Automation Loan Participation Program, MN DEED will make companion loans intended to fill gap financing needs for businesses purchasing machinery, equipment, or software to increase productivity and automation. Loans must be made in conjunction with private financing at least equal to the amount of the DEED loan. Loans will be up to $500,000 with 1% interest on a 5 to 7-year term. Eligible borrowers will include Minnesota-headquartered manufacturing, distribution, technology and warehousing businesses. The program targets businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

The MIF provides financing to help add new workers and retain high-quality jobs on a statewide basis. The focus is on industrial, manufacturing, and technology-related industries to increase the local and state tax base and improve economic vitality statewide. Funds are awarded to local units of government who provide loans to assist expanding businesses. Companies must work with the local government where a project is located to apply to DEED to receive a MIF award. At least 50% of total project costs must be privately financed through owner equity and other lending sources (most applications selected for funding have at least 70% private financing).

ELP supports the growth of businesses owned and operated by minorities, low-income persons, women, veterans and/or persons with disabilities. DEED provides grant funds to a network of nonprofit lenders which use these funds for loans to startup and expanding businesses throughout the state. The state’s share of an ELP loan can range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $150,000 per project with state funds matched at least 1:1 by new private financing. Beginning microenterprises, including retail businesses, may apply for $5,000 to $35,000 throughout the state and $5,000 to $50,000 in low-income areas without private matching funds.

West Central Initiative assists businesses and communities in west central Minnesota by providing gap financing to eligible new and expanding businesses. WCI’s loan programs typically supplement conventional bank financing and eligible projects must be able to prove that a financing gap exists, and the bank is unable to fund the entire project. The Small Enterprise Loan Fund provides loans from $1,000 to $50,000 and includes smaller loans to businesses in the manufacturing or service sectors. The Business and Industry Loan Fund is for loans from $20,000 to $300,000, targeting several key industries, including manufacturing, technology, local foods, agriculture, and health care; and in partnership with local lending institutions, economic development organizations, and government agencies to help fill the gap between available and necessary financial resources. Projects require primary financing through a bank.

A number of Clay County communities offer their own community-based revolving loan funds through West Central Initiative. Each program had a varying focus and type of eligible businesses. The Clay County Loan Fund assists businesses located in Clay County, MN (outside of Moorhead), that demonstrate a financing gap and that most likely would not succeed without the fund’s support. Specific use of loan funds could include machinery or equipment, real estate, working capital, inventory and related expenses and professional fees. The maximum loan amount is $20,000 or ten percent of the net assets of the fund, whichever is greater, and cannot surpass 50 percent of the total project cost. The Clay County communities of Barnesville, Hawley and Moorhead also have loan funds administered by West Central Initiative.

The Moorhead Community Loan Program provides gap financing for business expansions and startups in Moorhead, that create or maintain jobs; up to $50,000. This loan is designed to help businesses bridge the gap between what a traditional bank is willing to finance, and the actual dollars needed to get the business up and running.

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Ryan Aasheim

Chief Business Development Officer