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BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. John Hoeven today announced that Kilbourne Group is sponsoring a major new Innovate ND award category aimed at encouraging people with retail-based business ideas to compete in the annual venture building program.
The winner of the Innovate ND In the Zone Award will receive 2,000 square feet of prime downtown Fargo retail space at no cost for one year. The award is valued at $32,000. Doug Burgum, founder and chairman of Kilbourne Group, said the goal of the incentive is to motivate more retail entrepreneurs in downtown renaissance zones in North Dakota. Kilbourne Group is a collective team that is committed to inspiring and supporting the redevelopment of downtown districts.
“In spite of the great successes to date, one of the remaining challenges to the successful economic revival within the North Dakota renaissance zones is finding business owners willing to locate or launch a start-up in the downtown area,” Burgum said. “We are hoping that this significant incentive prize will help us uncover the next generation of retail innovators.”
“We are very pleased about this new partnership with Kilbourne Group and the excitement it adds to our growing program,” Hoeven said. “North Dakota is a great place to do business and with the growth of Innovate ND, North Dakota is also becoming a great place to be an entrepreneur.”
The In the Zone category is for innovative retail companies as well as those companies that plan to sell aggressively through the Internet and yet need a storefront or place for demonstrations for their product/service.
Kilbourne Group will select the In the Zone winner. The raw retail space offered by Kilbourne Group will be ready for the winner’s creative “fit-up.” Judges will look at the following main criteria in choosing the winner: innovation; a winning business model; the ability to succeed as a “destination retail location” in a Renaissance Zone; and the ability to take their product/service beyond the local level to the regional, national and even global levels.
The deadline for enrolling in Innovate ND is Dec. 4. Enrollment costs $100 ($50 for students) and includes online entrepreneur education, business planning tools, and coaching and mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and proven business owners.
The top 20 entries for Innovate ND will get the chance to pitch their business idea to a panel of potential investors. Up to five $10,000 cash prizes are awarded, as well as a wide variety of business services and potential seed capital investments to launch their businesses.
“Innovate ND is a powerful resource for entrepreneurs statewide,” Shane Goettle, commissioner, North Dakota Department of Commerce, said. “Some terrific business ideas have come through Innovate ND in the past three years and many past participants say the program has been vital to their success.”
Goettle said to date, nearly 500 people with 250 ideas have participated in the program and 70 new businesses are operational or in the development stage as a result.
DETAILS ABOUT INNOVATE ND
• Launched in November 2006 by Gov. John Hoeven.
• Coordinators: the North Dakota Department of Commerce and a statewide network of partners including the UND Center of Innovation, the NDSU Research and Technology Park, Dickinson State University Strom Center for Entrepreneurship, the IDEA Center in Bismarck, the Southern Valley Innovation Center in Wahpeton, Williston State College, Minot State University, and Bismarck State College – CETI.
• Sponsors: Forum Communications (lead sponsor), Cavendish Farms (premier sponsor), Great River Energy, State Bank & Trust, Bremer Bank, North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Bremer Bank, Montana Dakota Utilities, Weather Modification, Solarbee, Agency MABU, Qwest and Kilbourne Group.
• Cost: $100, $50 for students.
• Program includes online entrepreneur education, business planning tools, and coaching and mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and proven business owners.
• The top 20 entries pitch their business idea to a panel of potential investors.
• Up to five $10,000 cash prizes are awarded plus a wide variety of business services and potential seed capital investments to launch their businesses.
• One retail-based project will be selected for the Innovate ND In the Zone Award, which provides 2,000 square feet of prime downtown Fargo retail space at no cost. ($32,000 value)
• To date, nearly 500 people with 250 ideas have participated in the program and 70 new businesses are operational or in the development stage as a result.
• Enrollment runs through Dec. 4 and can be completed online at http://www.InnovateNd.com. For more information about the program contact Brandi Schoenberg at the ND Department of Commerce, 701-328-5300 or email@example.com.
I had to share this cool story about North Dakota’s own Doug Burgum by Dave Kolpack, AP writer. Governor Hoeven awarded Burgum, the man responsible for Great Plains software success, North Dakota’s highest honor on Friday.
FARGO, N.D. — A philanthropist and former Microsoft Corp. executive who built a big-time company with small-town people is the recipient of North Dakota’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider award.
Gov. John Hoeven presented Doug Burgum with the award during a surprise ceremony Friday at Microsoft’s Fargo campus, where Burgum served as the company’s senior vice president. Burgum is the 37th person to receive the award, given first in 1961 to entertainer Lawrence Welk.
Burgum fought back tears during much of a presentation, which included video messages from Microsoft founder Bill Gates and current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Burgum had built his previous company, Great Plains Software, Inc., into a billion-dollar company before selling it to Microsoft.
“Wow. I’m humbled, I’m grateful and I really appreciate it,” said Burgum, joking that he would have shaved if he had known about the ceremony. “I thought I was coming out here to get a tour with some people.”
Burgum, 53, a native of Arthur, a town of about 400 people in southeastern North Dakota, talked about his small-town roots and told the audience about a pledge he made with friends who attended high schools in the state’s Class B division.
“Look, we’re going build a world-class company, and we’re going to build it with Class B kids,” Burgum said.
Burgum joined Great Plains, in 1983, when it was still a startup. He became its chairman and chief executive officer, and he and his family bought a large share of it.
Microsoft bought Great Plains in 2001 for $1.1 billion in stock, and Burgum worked for Microsoft until 2007.
Gates and Ballmer said Burgum’s contributions were critical to developing Microsoft’s business applications. Burgum taught everyone about customer service, strong work ethic and commitment to the well-being of others, they said.
“I think he’s probably embarrassed by all the attention tonight, but it’s well-deserved,” Gates said.
Ballmer talked about the time he and Burgum were working on their master’s degrees at Stanford, and Gates asked Ballmer to drop out of school and join his startup company, Microsoft.
“Doug told me I would be nuts to take the job,” Ballmer said. “Doug told me he was going to go work for a startup called Great Plains Software in Fargo. It was my turn to tell him he was nuts.
“In the end, things worked out pretty well for both of us,” he said.
Longtime Great Plains employee Jodi Uecker-Rust said one of Burgum’s strongest assets is building relationships, not only with the “really big dogs” around the globe, but everyone who works for him. She remembered when Burgum smashed eggs in his own face during a presentation about a software project that failed.
“How many of us would stand on stage in front of 3,000 people and hit eggs on their head?” Uecker-Rust said.
Much of Burgum’s charitable work has revolved around the development of downtown Fargo. In 1996, he founded the Kilbourne Group, named for his mother, who grew up in Fargo. The company has invested more than $14 million in nearly 244,000 square feet of space in the downtown area.
Burgum also created the Arthur Ventures Growth Fund, a regional venture capital fund that invests in businesses, and the Doug Burgum Family Fund, a charity focused on youth and education.
Burgum said others deserve credit for his accomplishments.
“People who know me well know I have been surrounded by an incredible group of people,” he said.
The North Dakota Tourism Division of the Department of Commerce recently shared some thoughts about how to give to your family this holiday season. It had some great ideas and was definitely worth the share. Check it out below:
10 Legendary ways to focus on family during the season of giving in North Dakota
One way to show your family how thankful you are for them is to plan and spend quality time together as you head into the holiday season. Plays, concerts, sporting events, volunteer activities and parades will help you and your loved ones make lasting memories in North Dakota. Contact North Dakota Tourism at NDtourism.com or call 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525 for more information on these, and other, activities.
1. Patriotic pride
Veteran’s Day is a day commemorating all veterans and thanking them for their dedicated service to our country. Events throughout North Dakota will be taking place, so go out and show your patriotic pride. Governor Hoeven will honor vets at a service at the state capitol, and a short memorial ceremony and parade will take place in Fargo. A soup and sandwich supper along with a short presentation will take place in Rutland, ND.
2. One last getaway
Leave the planning up to North Dakota Tourism by taking advantage of one of the many vacation packages available. Hiking, biking, quilting, horseback riding are just a few of the choices. So, round up the family and head out.
3. Tip it off and drop the puck
Its prime time for sports fans in North Dakota. Watch as high school football and volleyball teams are crowned champions. Catch the action of the UND hockey, NBA-D League Dakota Wizards, NDSU and UND football seasons roll on.
4. Still the great outdoors
Even though the weather is slowly cooling and the days are getting shorter, there’s still plenty to do outdoors. Hiking or jogging around state historic sites and state parks is breathtaking in the crisp fall air and there’s always a place to fish away an afternoon.
5. Big timers in the house
November’s docket is loaded with big-time entertainment at venues all around North Dakota: Cirque Dreams Illumination at the Fargodome, Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks; and Bill Engvall at the Bismarck Civic Center are just a few.
6. Community pride
Don’t let this season get away without taking the family “downtown” to some of the activities in your town. From the Opera House in New Rockford to the Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks and all points in between, November has something for everyone in North Dakota.
7. A time for giving
During the season of giving, there is no better time or way to say thanks than by having the family volunteer to help those less fortunate. Many organizations will be looking for volunteer help during the holiday season. Contact the charity or organization of your choice today.
8. Light up the night
As we close in on the holidays, take advantage of beautiful lights parades that get the holiday season started. Cities and towns of all sizes gear up for Christmas and the holiday season with festival of lights and parades. Families will enjoy floats, shopping, a visit with Santa among many other activities.
9. Taste of the season
November isn’t just for turkeys anymore. Fargo and Langdon are among those cities offering art and wine walks or special events that bring people together for food and a good time. Pride of Dakota shows are just another way to enjoy foods of the season. Pick up something special for your family get-together.
10. Gifts galore
November is a time that people begin looking for those perfect Christmas gifts. Load up the family and search out that unique gift at the favorite regional arts and crafts show, The Big One. If you are still seeking that perfect gift, stop by the Wilton quilt show or, grab a North Dakota Legendary gift from our online store.
These are just a few of the events taking place in November throughout North Dakota. For more information, go to NDtourism.com or call 800-435-5663 or 701-328-2525.
Creating opportunity is a great way to get your start in North Dakota, and what better way than by buying a business! Communities across the state have opportunities just waiting for the right person to come along. Stop wondering where they are and check them out at ExperienceND.com. You’ll find everything from a restaurant in New Rockford to a dental practice in Ashley.
An Innovate ND winner has been selected as one of 13 finalists from 900 applicants nationwide in the “Newpreneur of the Year” contest sponsored by alibaba.com and Inc.com, publisher of Inc. Magazine. Competing for a chance to share in $100,000 in business grants is Paul Wolf of Mandan, whose Light Check device simplifies the process of testing trailer lights.
The 13 finalists, including Wolf, are profiled on alibaba.com and inc.com. Five finalists will be selected by online voting, which will run from Oct. 28 through Nov. 6 at www.inc.com/newpreneur/vote.html.
The top five Newpreneurs will be invited to the finale event in San Francisco on Nov. 18, where the grand prize winner will take home $50,000 to invest in his or her business. The four remaining finalists will receive awards totaling an additional $50,000.
At the regional competition in Chicago Oct. 8, he was named as one of two finalists to advance in the competition. “It’s further validation when people outside of the state believe Light Check is a viable product and business opportunity,” Wolf said.
Light Check is a self-contained, portable device that connects directly to the trailer light wiring and allows one person to quickly and easily check trailer lights without a towing vehicle or second person.
“Trailer lights have a high failure rate from exposure to harsh road conditions, corrosion and jarring,” he said. “The bottom line is they require frequent testing.”
After searching at local retailers and on the Internet, he found the only devices for testing trailer lights were expensive and designed for commercial trailers. In 2007, the Mandan man decided to build his own device, made of components purchased at an electronics supply retailer.
“After building one for myself, I started talking to others with similar situations,” he said. “Based on feedback from potential customers, I realized I probably had a good, marketable product.”
In 2009, he founded his company, Wolf Technologies, LLC to develop and market Light Check. Around the time he began working on the prototype, he decided to enter Innovate ND.
“I wanted to win the money, but entering was about more than that,” he said. “I needed guidance in developing a business plan so I could get into the market rapidly to generate sales and revenue. I left Innovate ND with a realistic, attainable business plan that incorporated information investors would require.”
Not only did he develop the business plan, he was also one of this year’s five winning entries.
“Winning Innovate ND gave me a huge boost of confidence that I’m on the right path as far as the product and also the marketing plan,” he said. “The money was incredibly helpful for off-setting expenses.”
Wolf has plans to market the current Light Check as well as develop an enhanced model which also tests reverse lights and brake lights in addition to trailer lights.
“People may have product ideas but don’t know how to structure a business around a product,” he said. “Others may have launched a business selling a product they shouldn’t because they didn’t study the market well enough. Innovate ND is a good process because you are forced to really think through all aspects, including your market research and business development.”
Registration for the next round of Innovate ND runs through Nov. 20 and is available online at www.InnovateND.com. The programs costs $100 ($50 for students) and includes online entrepreneur education, business planning tools, and coaching and mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and proven business owners.
The top 20 entries will get the chance to pitch their business idea to a panel of potential investors. Up to five $10,000 cash prizes are awarded, as well as a wide variety of business services and potential seed capital investments to launch their businesses.
To date, nearly 500 people like Wolf with 250 ideas have participated in the program and 70 new businesses are operational or in the development stage as a result.