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Development Fund Approved Projects
  • Star City Real Estate LLC (Velva) was approved for $35,000 to assist in the purchase and renovation of an existing building to house a new daycare.
  • Star City After School Care LLC (Velva) was approved for $40,000 to assist in the purchase of equipment and renovation of an existing building to house a new daycare. The company provides daycare services for the Velva area.
  • Prairie Gold Real Estate LLC (Killdeer) was approved for $500,000 to help fund a 32,000-square-foot addition to the existing facility. The company manufactures electronic sub-assemblies and interconnecting wire bundles mainly for Boeing’s military program.
  • Summers Manufacturing Company Inc. (Devils Lake) was approved for $750,000 to help fund working capital needs resulting from the launch of the VRT Renegade. The company manufactures and distributes agricultural equipment, including harrows, disks, rock pickers, sprayers and other equipment in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Bakken Midstream Natural Gas LLC was approved for $100,000 to advance in-state development of natural gas-related industries and establish a path toward significantly reducing natural gas flaring. The mission of Bakken Midstream is to develop and own infrastructure that will make North Dakota a world-class leader in value-added natural gas products.
  • MainSaver North Central Inc. (Jamestown) was approved for $150,000 for working capital needs resulting from the company’s planned expansion in the North Central United States. The company manufactures and installs the technology for the lining of watermain pipes.
  • Preferred Partner Community LLC (Fargo) was approved for $150,000  to assist with working capital needs. The company developed an application to aid when people move to new homes.
  • The Learning Circle Inc. (Casselton) was approved for $37,000 to assist with the purchase of an existing daycare. The business provides daycare services in the Casselton area.  
Development Fund Program
Rural Fund Program at a Glance:
  • Any primary sector business
  • Up to $1 million in funding and based on job requirement
  • For businesses with population of 8,000 or less or more than 5 miles outside city limits
  • Lower than market rates available
  • Loan and Equity investments available
Featured Story
 
PRX Performance LLC - Fargo
 

Campfires are an ideal setting for unwinding, telling stories and sharing ideas. For friends Brian Brasch and Erik Hopperstad, a campfire discussion about how to improve a piece of weight-lifting equipment called a barbell collar led to the conception of what is now a hugely successful – and multi-national – company called PRx Performance.

As CrossFit™ – a fitness regimen that incorporates high-intensity interval training, plyometrics, powerlifting and more – was gaining popularity in the United States, so was demand for home-based, commercial quality equipment. Brasch and Hopperstad took note that much of the home equipment on the market was bulky and cumbersome, so users were keeping it in their garages. This, coincidentally, was forcing homeowners to park their cars outside.

“Parking your car outside of your garage doesn’t work very well in North Dakota (winters),” laughs Brasch, who now serves as CEO of PRx Performance. “We started asking ourselves ‘what if we could make that quality equipment, but make it so that it folds away when you’re not using it?’” Brasch and Hopperstad, now president at PRx Performance, got busy pioneering a space-saving squat rack.

The Fargo-based duo worked with local manufacturers and offered non-qualified stock options to obtain assistance with engineering, marketing, branding and design. As they looked for other ways to fund their venture, Brasch and Hopperstad obtained a Small Business Administration loan and appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank, where Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) agreed to invest in their business. Still, the pair questioned how they could continue to grow their company while servicing their debt.

“The North Dakota Development Fund allowed us to buy more inventory to deliver to our customers faster (and) provide better customer service,” Brasch explains. “It was a huge help at the time because we were already maxed out on our SBA loan (so) it helped us get through that weird, rough patch where we had no cash but needed more inventory.”

PRx Performance has grown at a rate of 200 to 300 percent every year for the past five years. Its products are now in several big box shops and were launched on Amazon.com in October 2018.
“We are kicking off our international program next year in Cologne, Germany, and we have already sold to countries like Russia, Qatar and New Zealand,” Brasch says. “Now, it’s time to bring on more distributors. Thanks in part to the Development Fund, we finally have the resources to have global distributors.”

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Meet our new board member:
Michelle Kommer

Michelle Kommer was appointed North Dakota Department of Commerce Director on Jan. 1, 2019.

Kommer's strong leadership qualities, extensive private-sector experience and commitment to addressing the state’s workforce shortage were factors in her appointment by Gov. Doug Burgum.

Since joining the Burgum/Sanford administration in 2016 as Labor Commissioner, Kommer has spearheaded efforts to address North Dakota’s workforce shortage. She led the revitalization of the state’s Workforce Development Council (WDC) and oversaw a statewide survey of employers to identify their most pressing workforce issues. Based on survey results, the WDC produced an extensive report of recommendations designed to help shape the state’s workforce policy agenda to address the workforce shortage and support a 21st century workforce to meet current and future needs.

Kommer also has played an active role in the Main Street Initiative, which is one of the governor's five strategic initiatives and is built on three pillars: 21st century workforce, healthy, vibrant communities and smart, efficient infrastructure. The Department of Commerce is the lead agency working on the cross-cutting initiative. 

Kommer has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector, leading human resource, operational and legal functions in the financial services, health insurance and energy/manufacturing industries. Prior to her appointment as labor commissioner in November 2016, she served as chief administrative officer and general counsel for Western State Bank, where her in-house practice included contract negotiation and management, labor and employment matters and corporate governance. Her executive experience includes leadership of the strategic planning, human resources, project management, information technology, operations and legal functions.  

Kommer is licensed to practice law in both North Dakota and Minnesota. She received her undergraduate degree from Mayville State University, her master’s degree from the University of Mary and her law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law.

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.
Contact:
Scot Long
1-701-328-7256
Mailing address is:
1600 E. Century Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58503

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