How To Start A Business In The Fargo-Moorhead Area

Written by: Brady Drake

Starting a business can be overwhelming. That’s why we at Fargo INC! made an incomplete business resource guide to help you navigate and thrive while running a business.

City of Fargo 701-241-1310

Business Resources

Here you will find links for:

  • Business property taxes
  • City codes
  • Economic development
  • Helpful links for small businesses
  • Licensing
  • Permits
  • Starting a business

City of Moorhead 218-299-5166

Business Resources

Here you will find:

  • Starting, expanding or relocating your business
  • Licenses and permits
  • Incentive programs
  • Commercial and industrial properties
  • Development services
  • Organizations and resources
  • Business directory
  • Studies and reports

Moorhead Economic Development Authority 


City of West Fargo 701-433-5300

Business Resources

Here you will find:

  • Economic Development Department
  • Commercial property tax exemptions
  • Economic Development Website
  • Economic Development Advisory Committee

Economic Development and Community Services 701-433-5311

State of North Dakota

Economic Development Association of North Dakota

Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce

North Dakota Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

North Dakota Women’s Network

Starting a Business in North Dakota

  • Come here for step-by-step guides on what to do at each stage of building a small business.

Center for Technology & Business

Here you will find:

  • Women Owned Business Certification
  • Women’s Leadership Program
  • Starting a business FAQ

State of Minnesota

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Minnesota Trade Office

Minnesota Women’s Business Development Center

  • Come here for Women’s Business Enterprise Certification as well as training, mentoring, networking and business development opportunities.

Starting a Business in Minnesota

  • Come here for a step-by-step guide on starting a business in Minnesota.

US Small Business Administration (SBA) of Minnesota


701 Angel Fund

The 701 Angel Fund is a Certified North Dakota angel venture capital firm that invests in determined entrepreneurs and high-growth opportunities. Their fund works in unison with other investors in the region in order to maximize the exit potential of their portfolio of startup investments.

Arthur Ventures Growth Fund

This is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in business-to-business (B2B) software companies.

Linn Grove Ventures

Linn Grove invests in early- and mid-stage life science companies with outstanding technology. It is active in providing strategic financing and business leadership to help innovative companies move beyond the business incubator and accelerator phases to the next level of growth.

Northern Plains Fund

The new kids on the block with venture capital, Northern Plains Fund is a new fund out of Moorhead. To learn more about it, contact [email protected].

Bank of North Dakota (BND) New Venture Capital Fund

This fund provides funding for early-stage companies that can show clear proof of completed product development and market acceptance as evidenced by growing sales. BND invests in a variety of technologies and types of businesses, including North Dakota Department of Commerce strategic-target industries of value-added agriculture, technology, advanced manufacturing, energy and tourism.

Dakota Venture Group

DVG is a University of North Dakota-student-run venture-capital investment fund founded in 2006. The group manages multiple funds and utilizes a vast network of industry expertise in its due-diligence research and investment decision-making.

Pathway Ventures

The new student-run venture capital fund at North Dakota State University was created with the mission to lead students and startups on a path towards success through knowledge, capital and opportunity.

North Dakota/Minnesota EB-5 Regional Center

ND/MN EB-5 aims to stimulate economic development, create new jobs and improve regional productivity through direct foreign investment in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Thomas, McNerney & Partners

Thomas, McNerney invests in pharmaceutical, medical device, biotechnology and diagnostic service firms.

Valley Angel Investment Fund 

Valley Angel Investment Fund is an angel investment group headquartered in Grand Forks. As part of RAIN Source Capital’s RAIN Fund Network, they are able to share prospective deals with the entire network to collectively raise all or a good portion of capital companies are looking for.

Tax Incentives & Credits

(These and more can be found at

Angel Fund Investment Credit

An individual, estate, trust, partnership, corporation or limited liability company is allowed an income tax credit for investing in an angel fund in North Dakota. 

Automation Tax Credit 

An individual, estate, trust, partnership, corporation or limited liability company is allowed an income tax credit for purchasing machinery and equipment for the purposes of automating a manufacturing process in North Dakota. 

Corporate Income Tax Exemption

Newly established primary sector businesses or expansions of existing primary sector businesses are eligible for a five-year exemption from North Dakota state corporate income taxes. 

Property Tax Exemption

A qualifying project may receive a complete or partial exemption from ad valorem taxation for up to 10 years on new or existing buildings or structures used in the qualifying project. 

Sales & Use Tax Exemption

North Dakota provides sales tax exemptions for equipment and materials used in manufacturing and other targeted industries. A new or expanding plant may be exempt from sales and use tax on purchases of machinery or equipment used for manufacturing, ag commodity processing or recycling. An expanding primary sector business may also be eligible for an exemption for purchases of computer and telecommunications equipment that is an integral part of the business.  

Seed Capital Investment Tax Credit

An individual, estate, trust, partnership, corporation or limited liability company is allowed an income tax credit for investing in a primary-sector business. 

Research Expense Credit

An individual, estate, trust, partnership, corporation or limited liability company is allowed an income tax credit for conducting research in North Dakota. The credit is equal to a percentage of the excess of qualified research expenses in North Dakota over the base period research expenses.

Finance Programs and Grants

These and more can be found at

Bank of North Dakota

As the only state-owned bank in the nation, the Bank of North Dakota (BND) is able to take a unique approach to assisting businesses by joining private and public resources. BND offers the following financing options for primary sector businesses.

Growth Initiative Fund

The Growth Initiative Fund (GIF) is a revolving loan fund managed and administered by the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC). A portion of the GIF’s funds are available for projects targeted at the emerging sectors identified in the Cass Clay Economic Plan. Projects will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Innovate ND 

Innovate ND provides access to beneficial venture tools, online entrepreneur education and extensive resources. If you are a North Dakota-based entrepreneur or innovator working on a new concept, you may be eligible for the program.

An entry fee of $250 gains you access to $2,500 of resources through a certified North Dakota entrepreneurial center. Funds can be used to create your business plan, prototype development, coaching, consulting and marketing assistance.

North Dakota Department of Commerce, Economic Development and Finance

The North Dakota Department of Commerce, Economic Development and Finance provides financial packages, tax incentives, research for local and community economic development organizations and support and information for economic development around the state. 

North Dakota New Jobs Training Grant

The North Dakota New Jobs Training Program captures the North Dakota state income tax withholding generated from individuals filling new job positions — identified in a New Jobs Training Agreement — for up to a 10-year period starting from the effective date of the Agreement. 

North Dakota Opportunity Fund

The ND Opportunity Fund leverages private financing to help small businesses and manufacturers attain the loans and investments needed to expand and create jobs. A consortium of 38 municipalities across North Dakota has received funding for operating the loan participation program. Loan funds can be used for construction, equipment, working capital, real estate and interim SBA 504 loans.

Operation Intern 

A primary-sector business that employs interns is eligible for matching funds of up to $20,000 per funding round or $40,000 per biennium. The first round of applications is currently closed and the second funding round will be from March 25 – April 12, 2020

Small Business Administration (SBA) Funding Programs

Here you will find:

  • Loans
  • Investment Capital
  • Disaster Assistance
  • Surety Bonds
  • Grants


What resource was instrumental in helping you launch your business? Let us know by Tweeting us @FargoINCMag

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