Frequently Used Resources

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Resources

Our local SBDCs are often one of the first referrals we make for things like business planning, financial forecasting, market research and more. Regionally we have both a  North Dakota Office in Fargo and a Minnesota Office in Moorhead. In addition to the SBDCs, our local SCORE Office has volunteer mentors to help entrepreneurs talk through their ideas and plans, and the ND Women’s Business Center has a local office to help provide programs to support entrepreneurs from business start-up to expansion through a variety of services and resources. The above guidance is often taken and utilized to visit with local SBA partners for early financing needs –Dakota Business Lending and Lake Agassiz Development Group.

New startups in North Dakota may apply for Innovate ND which not only provides opportunities for entrepreneurial assistance and mentorship, but also enables the startups to access up to $40,000 in funds through a combination of reimbursements and grants.

In Minnesota, innovative and scalable technology businesses may apply for Launch Minnesota grants for business operation expenses (up to $35,000) and for SBIR-STTR first-time Phase 1 and Phase 2 awardees (up to $50,000).

Otherwise, for the most part, “small business grants” can be somewhat of a myth. Occasionally, you may come across something, but most often they will be very niche for eligibility and very competitive. Hello Alice is one example of an online resource that may share grants every so often.

ND primary sector entrepreneurs have the advantage of the funding possibilities provided by ND Development Fund and the nation’s only state-owned financial institution, Bank of North Dakota. ND Development Fund provides gap financing through loans and equity investments not available from most conventional lenders. Bank of North Dakota has been an agile partner with lenders. They reduce exposure on financing early-stage companies as well as established businesses. The LIFT program has been very popular since being created in late 2019. This is an innovation loan fund to support technology advancement by providing financing for commercialization of intellectual property within the state of North Dakota. A LIFT loan is unsecured financing that includes 0% interest for 3 years, 2% for the next two years, and then a rate equal to the standard Bank of North Dakota rate after that. Other state programs (funding; job; tax) sometimes accessed by our entrepreneurs can be found on our Business Incentives Page.

You’ll find access to various programs, trainings and webinars in our region. For one-off events and webinars, we suggest looking at theTechstars Startup Digest Fargo, as each issue will feature upcoming opportunities.

The ILT Academy continues to expand their programming into our region, as well as offer online access. Their main startup program is a 10-week interactive, immersive series of virtual classes where participants (of any age) learn to leverage world-class tools, innovation techniques, and practice key concepts in the Lean Startup methodology.

gBETA is a free 7-week program for early-stage companies, providing coaching, mentoring, meetups, pitch opportunities and more.

The Great Plains I-Corps Hub will launch in 2023, as a network to provide training to university-based inventors to help them bring their ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace. Over the course of eight weeks, the teams receive entrepreneurial education, mentoring, and funding to accelerate their fundamental research into emerging products and services.

If you are ready for traditional office space, there are a wide variety of local realtors to assist you. However, if you’re more in the stage for short-term space, we can connect you with places like Railyard Offices, Regus, NDSU RTP Incubator, Regional Small Business Center or other great spaces. The NDSU RTP Incubator building is also home to the NDSU Innovation Studio makerspace.

While formal resource programs can help startups progress faster, everyone here agrees that the personal connections you will make through the ecosystem providers and peer-to-peer discussions are invaluable. We’ll assist with that, but you may also look to many Local Opportunities to Engage.

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John Machacek

Chief Innovation Officer