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Success Stories

SBA’s 2018 North Dakota Small Business Person of the Year Kari Weigel believes she can change lives – and she is, one student at a time.  And she is changing students’ lives in big towns, rural areas, and reservations across North Dakota and the United States.

She learned she could make a difference when in high school she worked in her mother’s Bismarck, N.D., business, Sylvan Learning Center. It is a franchise business that offers personalized tutoring on a number of subjects, as well as study skills and ACT prep courses, primarily to students in grades K-12.

Kari went to college, graduated, and spent five years working as a certified public accountant. She soon realized that she missed helping students. She missed helping a student reach his/her full academic potential. In 2004, Kari returned to Bismarck to operate the business with her mother. Her long-term goal: Own the business.

In 2008, her dream came true when she purchased the business. Since then Kari... Read More

Jonathan Holth and Shawn Clapp spent a number of years working in the restaurant industry prior to opening the Toasted Frog in downtown Grand Forks in 2006. They sought assistance from SCORE and SBA to put together their business plan and obtain an SBA 7(a) loan. “Any resources you can tap into you should explore,” advises Holth. “When we finished with our counseling session with SCORE, our business plan was ten times stronger than it was when we went in there.” Having a strong business plan not only gives you a road map for moving forward in your business, it will also make it easier to get bank financing. SCORE helped Holth and Clapp understand what a bank would look for in a business plan and also explained the financial options that were available to them. Holth and Clapp have since opened two more locations – downtown Bismarck in 2010 and downtown Fargo in 2014. They have also been named SCORE Mentor’s 2018 American Small Business Champion.

See more of their story on... Read More

When Leonard Niess was thinking about starting a commercial printing and marketing business, the possibility of the Minot Air Force Base closure was a concern. A base closure would have had a negative impact on the Minot business community and on his new business. “So what I needed was just that small amount of encouragement on top of my enthusiasm to start this business,” Leonard remembers.

He learned about SCORE Mentors at an entrepreneur class. They helped him with planning and preparing a loan proposal. “That really helped me and when I made my decision and went to the bank . . . I had all the confidence I would have ever needed.”

The SBA loan came through in less than a month.  Niess Impressions has been serving the Minot area for 20 years.

Learn how SCORE Mentors helped Leonard with his loan proposal.

Megan Wold, Met-A-Latte Coffee House

While in college, Megan Wold enjoyed the coffee shop atmosphere – she spent time studying in local coffee shops and also managed one. A new chapter in her life started when she became a mother and at that point Megan started thinking about opening her own coffee house. At her mom’s suggestion, she discussed her ideas with Keith Olson, Regional Director of the Williston SBDC. Learn how the NDSBDC helped Megan become the successful business owner of three Meg-A-Latte Coffee Houses in Williston, ND -- Read more