Be Brief. Be Bold. Be Gone.

Written by: Brady Drake

“Be Brief. Be Bold. Be Gone.” This sums up the 67th North Dakota legislative assembly. Governor Doug Burgum and Legislators from all corners of the State of ND made huge bets on the future of the state’s economy. The bets include hundreds of millions of dollars that will be invested in the next generation of the energy sector, 20% of our Legacy Fund principal will now be invested in projects and firms in North Dakota, tens of millions of new dollars focused on accelerating commercialization of intellectual property and innovation, and the list goes on. This is among the very best times in the state’s rich economic history to invest in our state and the Department of Commerce invites you to join us on this journey.

North Dakota’s Next Generation Economy

The private sector is going big on economic diversification. As I write this article, ADM just announced that it is investing $350MM in a new crushing facility at Spiritwood; this value-added production provides jobs, a stronger local price for soy and greater demand for North Dakotan products. We are especially adept at agriculture and are rapidly creating similar yet bigger opportunities for the energy sector. This effort will improve the environment, generate larger private sector investment and develop tens of thousands of new well-paying jobs. Simultaneously, we are driving major growth in biotech and additive/ advanced manufacturing to create a more resilient and diversified economy. Workforce development efforts coupled with more livable communities, smart infrastructure investments and a rapidly improving tourism sector are ensuring that we can continue to recruit, retain, train and deploy talent throughout the state.

Commerce leads a synchronized approach within this space to optimize state support to public-private partnerships thereby creating high returns on investment for all major sectors. New activities and research in healthcare augments a strong tech sector in several cities while rural communities leverage these innovations for improvement in healthcare delivery. The rural-urban nexus continues to strengthen across the state.

A Stronger Financial Continuum

Companies of all sizes and stages are flourishing within North Dakota as well.
We have among the most robust financial continua in the nation. A startup can
leverage grant and loan programs such as the InnovateND program or ND Venture program managed by Commerce. A little further along the continuum are programs such as LIFT where zero-interest loans for the commercialization of IP are available. Creative financing within the North Dakota Development Fund are also available from convertible equity to higher risk loans. We have several grants for companies in the tourism sector as well as workforce development. Programs such as Operation Intern fund interns.

For more mature companies, the Bank of North Dakota offers among the best lending programs in the nation! Having our own Central Bank is a huge benefit and many consider this to be our greatest tool for development. With state Legacy Fund opportunities on the horizon, we can think even bigger as the state makes major investments in companies of all types in the coming years. All of this is augmented by solid side-by-side investment relationships with venture, angels, private equity firms, the list goes on.

Big Ideas. Big Investments.

The legislature made amazing investments in marketing the state; over the next few months, North Dakotan marketing and tourism efforts will exponentially increase thereby creating more awareness of our amazing assets. Couple this with major investments in unmanned systems growth, now exceeding over $100MM and North Dakota has caught major attention from large investment firms and tech companies on the coasts. In addition to giants like Microsoft, we have firms like General Atomics and Northrup Grumman making tens of millions of dollars in investments and creating well-paying jobs. Grand Sky UAS park and VANTIS, also known as the nation’s first Beyond Visual Line of Sight platform in the nation, continue to draw large investments to our region. A new $25MM investment in clean energy will also propel our state to greater growth within the energy sector. The Grand Farm continues to grow in the Southern Valley while companies like Bushel and Aldevron attract hundreds of millions of dollars.

North Dakota is just getting started as growth in sectors across the state demonstrates to the rest of the nation that value-added and value-chain development can occur in rural states with access to broadband, beautiful communities that offer small-town charm and a well-trained workforce. Governor Burgum and the legislature saw this vision and went big! Commerce is well funded and has a suite of several dozen programs to assist companies and communities across the state to realize their full potential. We are amid a major transformation and welcome you to join us! “Be Brief, Be Bold. Be Gone,” -MAJ Megan McClung

James Leiman, Current Commerce Commissioner, spent over a decade fighting terrorism before deciding to focus his efforts on domestic issues. in his most recent position as the Department of Commerce’s director of Economic Development and Finance, Leiman was involved in statewide economic development and finance initiatives.

Share This Article
Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.