The latest startup tools and resources

When you’re building a new business or getting an idea off the ground, it’s helpful to know what’s available and who might be willing to share information or even just take a little time to listen.

Part of my role at the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation is to help inform and connect entrepreneurs & others within the ecosystem. This post (and potential future posts like it) is just another way I help spread the word on what’s out there for support and items of note.

CO.STARTERS next cohort: The Nice Center has taken over the local CO.STARTERS program and the next cohort kicks off on January 13.  This 9-week program is a great way for existing or budding entrepreneurs to work through and validate ideas.  This is an action-driven, collaborative process with a small and supportive group of participants, facilitator, speakers and mentors.

Innovation Technology Loan Fund (LIFT) applications open: ND Dept. of Commerce has added a LIFT tab to their website and the online application process opened up. The intent of this new program is to aid in diversification of the North Dakota economy via friendly financing resources to support innovative commercialization, patents or technology.

Launch Minnesota Innovation Grant applications open: MN Dept. of Econ. Dev. opened up applications for their new startup program. Innovation Grants target innovative and scalable technology businesses in Minnesota.

Innovate North Dakota updates:  If you haven’t heard, the program has been updated with four phases providing up to $40,000 in grant funding.  Past participants may be eligible to apply again if they have a new qualifying innovation.

GFMEDC piloting new microloan program:  Through our Growth Initiative Fund, we are piloting this new program designed to address financing challenges of early-stage primary sector entrepreneurs in Cass County, to ideally help startups progress to their next stages of revenue and access to other funding sources.  For more information, email John at

Emerging Digital Academy code school launched: North Dakota’s first immersive coding bootcamp is accepting applications to join their five-month program, beginning April 2020.

1 Million Thanks registration open: This annual event (1/30) by Emerging Prairie is always one of my favorites of the year, as it gathers many people within the entrepreneurial ecosystem to celebrate the past year of our collaborative region and look forward to further progress during the upcoming year.

Fargo Moorhead Junior Achievement is looking for more classroom volunteers: Volunteers are assigned to a classroom and teach a series of five 30-45 minute lessons, generally regarding financial literacy, college and career readiness, and entrepreneurship. JA provides the curriculum and a guidebook that walks the volunteer through the lessons and activities. I’ve volunteered numerous times over the past 20 years and find it’s a great way for our area youth to interact with the business community.

Those are just a handful of programs available regionally. If you want to stay on top of events & trainings & more, check out  Our website’s Entrepreneurs section also has links of various helpful resources and I often share information on LinkedIn.

John Machacek
Chief Innovation Officer

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