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North Dakota Development Fund
Development Fund - April 2017

ND Development Fund Approves Projects

The North Dakota Development Fund (NDDF) recently awarded funding for six projects totaling $1,496,000.
Here's some insights into the projects:
ZuluFly, LLC, (Fargo) was awarded a $350,000 loan to finance working capital needs. The company develops real-time locating systems and radio-frequency identification software solutions.
Plains Mobile, Inc., (Linton) was awarded a $400,000 loan to finance working capital needs, equipment purchases and improvements needed to be made by the company based upon its planned expansion. The company develops an integrated cloud-based software aimed at simplifying business systems that interact with people, equipment and mobile devices.
BotLink, LLC, (Fargo) was awarded a $500,000 loan to be used to support planned growth. BotLink develops software and hardware for fully integrated operations platforms that combines real-time data delivery, control and safety.

SkySkopes, Inc., (Grand Forks) was awarded a $150,000 loan to finance working capital needs.
The company uses revolutionary technology to provide unique actionable aerial data.

Premier Refinery, LLC, (Jamestown) was awarded a $50,000 loan for equipment and working capital needed to scale up a novel chemical extraction process from bench level to production level.

A Child's Garden, (Mandan) was awarded a $46,000 loan to acquire the assets and customer list of Kid's Imagination Daycare Zone (KIDZ) located in Mandan.


Funding for Rural Primary Sectory Businesses Available

The North Dakota Revolving Rural Loan Fund provides flexible gap financing for new or expanding primary sector businesses in North Dakota located in cities with a population of less than 8,000 or more than 5 miles outside city limits. The fund is a flexible source of financing, in partnership with private sources. If a business can't handle added debt, the Development Fund can take an equity financing position.

Eligible primary sectory businesses can receive up to $1,000,000 (based on job requirement). The fund also offers a lower than market interest rate, subject to risk of project.


Development Fund was Key for O'Brien Seed

When an opportunity arose to purchase a small processing facility in Mayville, Larry O’Brien leapt at the chance. He opened O’Brien Seed in 1996 and has gradually expanded the facility over the last decade into 17 different commodities.

obrienquote.JPGO’Brien Seed is a value-added agricultural commodities processor. Generally, the term ‘value-added agriculture’ references the process of transforming or changing a primary agricultural commodity from its original state to a more valuable state. It can also refer to increasing the economic value of a commodity through a specific production process. O’Brien Seed buys crops - such as sunflowers and beans - that are grown in the region and then cleans and repackages them.

Over the years, O’Brien Seed has expanded their operations in a number of ways. In 2000, they began purchasing tractor trailers under a new entity called O’Brien Enterprises. The need for a trucking division was explored because commodities for bird seed are produced in Western North Dakota and hauled into Montana. The trucking line was expanded over the years to the point it was custom hauling for other companies. In 2007, O’Brien Seed expanded again with the purchase of the Portland, North Dakota dehydration plant and the Rhame, North Dakota elevator.

The Development Fund supported recent efforts for O’Brien Seed to diversify its business. “Our latest expansion - which we were able to utilize the Development Fund for - was a birdseed mixing line and warehouse to grow that aspect of our business,” explains Larry O’Brien, president of O’Brien Seed. “[Our] birdseed is high quality ingredients mixed together for consumers to put into their backyard feeders … It is cleaned and mixed onsite and shipped throughout the United States - predominantly to the Midwest and East Coast.”

Value-added agriculture can enhance agricultural entrepreneurship and rural development and this small-town company recognizes that potential. “O’Brien Seed has been in business in Mayville for 20 years,” says O’Brien. “And thanks to the support of the growers in our region and a staff of hardworking [and] loyal employees, the addition of the new warehouse and mixing line will move us forward for the next 20 years.”


Emerging Prairie Highlights NDDF at Prairie Capital Summit


This first ever Prairie Capital Summit, held February 22 in downtown Fargo, was a collective get-together of eager and supportive founders, investors, and entrepreneurs which signaled a massive flux of innovation, technology, and strong business building in the region.

James Burgum, co-founder of Arthur Ventures, Dusty Davidson, founder of Flywheel, and Scott Bintz, founder of brought this narrative to life with their mutual understanding of why and how in the prairie. From the investment side, James Burgum highlighted why Arthur Ventures invests heavily in the Midwest.

The summit highlighted over 8 different local resource organizations specifically designed to help kick-start your company. These resources ranged from the NDSU Research & Tech Park to the student-led Dakota Venture Group that has developed two funds equaling over $1.8 Million. Dean Reese of the ND Development Fund showcased his passion to push success in the region in every way possible. From funding tech companies to funding feature-length movies in the area, the fund is passionate about moving the needle not just for North Dakota but for each organization and the community.

For a full summary of the Summit, visit



Meet Board Vice-President: Gary Goplen

goplen_gary_5446.jpgGary Goplen has been in the banking industry for most of his career with Bank Forward in Carrington, as a loan officer and Branch President and more recently in Fargo as Senior Vice President of lending. He has served on several economic development boards including the Carrington Development Corporation and the Home Rule Charter. 
“Being a part of the NDDF board has given me a strong belief in the North Dakota economy. Seeing all the new and existing entrepreneurs with great ideas and plans who want to be in North Dakota for their employees and families.

My favorite part about being on the board is having a role in helping new and expanding companies with their aspirations.”


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.

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