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Success Stories

Dakota Micro, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business started by Charissa Rubey and her husband, Dave Rubey. The company develops and manufactures ruggedized camera systems and surveillance equipment for agricultural, public works and military applications. They export their products worldwide from their manufacturing facility on the family farm near Cayuga, North Dakota.

Charissa is no stranger to SBA programs. She has accessed many SBA resources - SCORE Mentors, an SBA loan, the Women's Business Center, and the U.S. Export Assistance Center - to start, grow, and expand the business.

“As business owners, we have the additional responsibility of not only ourselves, but hundreds of other livelihoods, and most efforts to find clarity in the current environment sometimes feels fruitless and isolating,” said Charissa. “But I'm happy to report that our business is still moving along, steady as she goes, supported by some rather unexpected but greatly appreciated... Read More

Founded in 2017 by husband and wife, Skyler and Nicole Dutton, and Dexter Dutton, Skyler’s brother, Thunder Coffee began as a mobile coffee service.  They did pop-ups, catering and special events.  Two years later, the Duttons opened a brick-and-mortar shop in West Fargo.  This family-owned business’s goal from the start was to create a welcoming coffee shop that would provide a destination for community involvement, while serving great coffee

The Duttons had honed their craft, knew that had a good product and were pursuing their goal of hosting community-based events, but there were things they didn’t know about running a business.

Nicole applied for and was accepted into the 2019 class of SBA Emerging Leaders. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” said Nicole. “SBA Emerging Leaders helped me understand where I need to focus my time and energy to effectively help my team. Our company is more specific with our business objectives and goals so we could be strategic in... Read More

Hamad Abdelnour arrived in the United States as a refugee in September 2000, with only a 20-dollar bill in his pocket. Overcoming language and cultural barriers, he worked odd jobs to put himself through high school and then college, graduating from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and a minor in Mathematics.

After college, Abdelnour worked as a translator and cultural advisor with the U.S. Army and served multiple deployments in Iraq. He also worked with the United States Central Command, developing statistical models for measures of performance and measures of effectiveness.

In April 2015, Abdelnour launched Valley IT Solutions, LLC, in Fargo, ND. Valley IT designs and manufactures custom computer systems and develops specialized software programs using cutting edge technology, including machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Struggling to secure financing as a minority-owned business, the young company had to decline... Read More

Warren Sai (who’s from Paris, France) is the owner of French Taste, a restaurant in Grand Forks, ND, specializing in sweet and savory crepes. Sai started French Taste with a folding table, serving crepes at farmer’s markets and other community events around Grand Forks, while he was attending the University of North Dakota (UND).

Although he was developing many business skills as a Marketing major at UND, he knew that discussing his ideas with a business mentor would be valuable. Sai contacted the North Dakota Small Business Development Center (ND SBDC).

The ND SBDC helped Sai with his business planning so that he was able to feel more prepared and confident. “The conversations made me even more sure about what I was doing,” he said. “Nicole and the ND SBDC’s services were the best. She was always helpful and answered every question. She has knowledge, patience, [and] many resources to provide.”

From pop-ups to food truck to restaurant with catering services,... Read More

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