Grants in North Dakota
By: Dale Van Eckhout
Bismarck Area Office
North Dakota District Office
Are there any grants available to help start my business? The short answer is no, however there are a many specialized grants and other forms of assistance that can act like a grant and are proven to be of benefit for new and existing businesses.
Please note that within the limited amount of funding that is available, nearly all grant funds are awarded to public entities such as cities and to non-profit organizations. The most common method of finding a grant is through www.grants.gov. A search can be done within the grants.gov site, however please check the appropriate search blocks on the left of the search grants page or you will end up with thousands of matching results.
SBA provides grants to qualified entities through the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. The SBIR and STTR programs are highly competitive and encourage small business to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from its commercialization. In North Dakota, the Center for Innovation at the University of North Dakota (UND) provides service through these programs SBIR / STTR.
There are smaller grants available from some of the local development organizations and communities in North Dakota. As examples, businesses in the Souris Basin Regional Council service area can apply for an Action Grant from the Souris Basin Planning Council to utilize for signage and marketing with a $2,000 maximum. The City of Mandan offers a Storefront Improvement Program which assists businesses and commercial property owners improve the facades of their businesses by providing forgivable loans as a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $10,000 per building. It is best to check with your local development office to find out if they offer similar incentives and to obtain the guidelines for an application.
North Dakota Community Action offers an individual development account (IDA) which requires participants to save money for at least six months and those qualifying are able to save up to $2,000 while receiving a match of $4,000 for the purpose of college tuition, a first home or small business capitalization. More information is available at www.capnd.org/ida.
USDA Rural Development provides grants to nonprofits serving in business development, public bodies (cities), tribes and in certain cases, cooperatives, through the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) . There are also grants for energy efficiency for a for-profit business through the Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP). Qualifying entities are also assisted in adding value to agriculture products through the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG). Businesses receive indirect grant assistance in cases where a community qualifies for grant funding for infrastructure and essential community facilities. There are other USDA grants with additional information at USDA Rural Development.
Various programs through the State of North Dakota are available to qualifying entities including the Renewable Energy Program with guidelines at nd.gov/ndic. Value added agriculture is also served through the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC).
Another website that is also beneficial in finding financing specific to the business needs http://business.usa.gov/access-financing.
Please contact any of our offices for more information or with any questions on SBA programs and services: Fargo 701.239.5131, Bismarck 701.250.4303, Grand Forks 701.746.5160.
Dale Van Eckhout has been the Bismarck area manager for the U.S. Small Business Administration since 2011, having formerly been Business and Cooperative Program Director and District Director for USDA Rural Development. He is a Certified Economic Development Professional and has received Accreditation from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.