ND Development Fund Approves Projects
The North Dakota Development Fund awarded funding for four projects totaling $1,625,000 since October.
Here's some insights into the projects:
Harvest Fuel, Inc., (Walhalla) was awarded a $725,000 loan to expand operations at their Walhalla facility. Harvest Fuel sells a variety of feed supplement products for horses, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, and other livestock.
FarmQA, Inc., (Fargo) was awarded a $750,000 loan to help fund working capital for an upcoming expansion. FarmQA develops various efficiency software programs for large-scale growers in the agricultural industry and also distributes the associated hardware.
Mama Mia, Inc., (Fargo) was awarded $150,000 loan to be used to provide working capital. The company is a designer outlet store in a boutique environment with the purpose of finding, repurposing, and selling inventory through the MODE franchise stores.
Funding for Primary Sectory Businesses Available
The North Dakota Development Fund
provides flexible gap financing for new or expanding primary sector businesses in North Dakota. Funds are available through direct loans, participation loans, subordinated debt and equity investments. Funds may be used for real property, equipment and working capital.
Eligible primary sectory businesses can receive up to $1,000,000 (based on job requirement). The fund also offers a lower than market rate interest rate, subject to risk of project.
Development Fund was Pivotal for GoodBulb
The adage “the light went on in my head” quite literally happened to GoodBulb Founder and President Tom Enright. He was working as a wholesale and retail lightbulb distributor when he had the idea that he could start - and substantially grow - his own business by selling product online through Amazon.com and other marketplaces. Enright developed a business plan and began evaluating both the financial requirements and funding opportunities to open and run his company, which he named GoodBulb.
Enright recognized immediately that he would need capital to hire staff, purchase inventory, and buy new software to help manage the inventory. GoodBulb received a “primary sector” designation during this planning phase which allowed Enright to apply for funding from the North Dakota Development Fund. The funds were used to hire additional personnel to handle e-commerce support, customer service, inside sales, warehouse management, order fulfillment and business management. Funds were also used for a new inventory management and ordering system, as well as for the creation of an ecommerce website.
Right now GoodBulb is focused on establishing and building its brand. The company is currently manufacturing its own LED lightbulbs and offers everything from standard household LED lights to specialty lighting systems. GoodBulb.com is under construction and certain products are already available on Amazon.com.
“The North Dakota Development Fund was pivotal in our success and has allowed me to take my business to the next level,” says Enright. “Without the funding, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to add key employees, purchase inventory and focus on branding to expand the business.”
There is another side – a very personal one – to the GoodBulb story, and it’s the reason that Enright wants to use his business to not only sell lighting products but to promote general goodness in the world. When his infant son prevailed after a serious medical scare that could have meant a lifetime of complications, Enright made it his mission to use his business and its brand to change other’s lives for the better. For example, Enright wants to use a portion of GoodBulb profits to supply homes in third world countries with LED lanterns, thereby replacing dangerous and expensive kerosene lamps.
Meet Board President: John Erickson
John D. Erickson is with Assurity Finance & Development, a commercial project finance, investment and advisory firm in Grand Forks. Prior to Assurity, John served as COO of a family-owned crop protection and agronomy company. John currently serves as the board Chair for Special Olympics of North Dakota and has been on the board since 2007.
“During my time on the NDDF Board, I’ve been exposed to several great business start-ups, expansions, and company relocations to ND; and have enjoyed meeting some of ND’s most valued leaders within the business, banking, and professional service community,” Erickson said. “The experience has not only enlightened me on the impact the Fund has on State economic development activities; I ’ve learned plenty about various industries including software, technology, and the emerging UAV world – which our firm has limited exposure to.”
“My favorite part of serving on the Board has been the relationships I’ve made with other volunteer board members and the NDDF and Dept. of Commerce staff.”
The North Dakota Development Fund was created in 1991 as an economic development tool. It provides flexible gap financing through debt and equity investments for new or expanding North Dakota primary sector businesses. Primary sector businesses create new wealth and are typically manufacturers, food processors and exported service companies.