Entrepreneurs in Fargo, ND
Looking to launch a business?
In Fargo-Moorhead, entrepreneurial support here begins early, thanks to the presence of resources such as the North Dakota State University Technology Incubator. Located at the NDSU Research & Technology Park, the incubator helps entrepreneurs connect with mentors, investors and educational and networking opportunities. Budding business owners can make use of more than 49,000 square feet of office, lab, manufacturing and meeting space as they get their endeavors off the ground.
Venture Capital for the Taking
The area's growing crop of entrepreneurs also benefit from the involvement of Arthur Ventures, a capital management group that helps new businesses bridge the gap between angel funding and large institutional investment.
Doug Burgum and nephew James Burgum started Arthur Ventures in 2008, inspired by Doug's early experience in the software business. After borrowing capital from the local grain elevator, Doug bought into the fledgling Great Plains Software in 1983. He led the company until Microsoft purchased it for $1.1 billion in 2001.
“We see business as a life cycle, starting with planting the seed capital and then growing it into a bountiful harvest,” James says. “Those who harvest the seeds have a responsibility to sow them again.”
Arthur Ventures also hosts events like the two-day CULTIVATE.YOU seminar and the three-day Startup Weekend. Both help entrepreneurs find mentors, learn about the business world, and refine their ideas.
On his own, Doug Burgum has founded the Kilbourne Group, which supports the revitalization and restoration of downtown Fargo.
“The downtown Fargo community has a key role in building up our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says Jake Joraanstad, co-founder and CEO of mobile app developer Myriad Devices. “I can go to a coffee shop downtown and make five connections immediately, because the community is so open to introductions.”
Joraanstad and Ryan Raguse, Myriad's co-founder and president, launched Myriad in 2011. The company helps clients develop their mobile technology strategies, builds apps to suit, and assists with app distribution. After seeing 800 percent growth in 2012, Myriad is on track to double in size and revenue in 2013.
Other Fargo Moorhead successes include Jade Presents, an entertainment booking and event production company that has worked with the likes of Sheryl Crow, B.B. King and Tracy Morgan. Online retailer TAG Clothing, started by Joe Burgum, is another example.
The company, which launched with a downtown Fargo pop-up store in November 2012, sells local-flavor shirts from Des Moines-based RAYGUN, plus designs from local artists.
Along with colleagues he met while attending Startup Weekend, Joe is also a founder of Alley Fair, an annual music and arts festival first held in June 2013. Joe and his friends developed the event to help area residents rethink Fargo's urban spaces. Despite cold weather, the fair drew hundreds of attendees. But that doesn't really surprise Joe.
“Fargo believes in young people and in the entrepreneurial spirit,” he says. “Whether it's Startup Weekend or TAG or Alley Fair, we have a community that dreams big and keeps going.”
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