Application period is now open!
Innovate North Dakota is a voucher reimbursement program to help North Dakota entrepreneurs further their business by supporting customer and market research. Through expert guidance from business coaches at Entrepreneurial Centers, Innovate ND provides the entrepreneurial community of North Dakota the resources needed to help turn an innovative idea into a profitable business.
- Grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem in North Dakota and enhance economic development and economic diversity in the state.
- Educate and assist participants on the lean business model canvas, value proposition, and customer identification.
- Assist participants to validate their product and market by tracking metrics such as investment, sales, or customer interviews.
- Support the development of new, innovative businesses with clear potential for Primary Sector Certification.
Innovate ND is administered through four Entrepreneur Centers:
ND Women's Business Center
Each participant is eligible for up to $22,500 in reimbursable expenses through two phases offering $7,500 and $15,000, respectively. The participant has up to three months per phase, for a total of six months, to complete all requirements of the program. See the Program Manual for more details on the requirements per phase.
Entrepreneurs must meet the following criteria for acceptance into Phase 1:
- The business is headquartered in North Dakota and is registered and in good standing with the North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office.
- The business is scalable with potential to become a certified primary sector business.
- Must demonstrate in their application they have reached the following levels:
- Founding Team: Founder(s) with a team of different skillsets and aspirations to scale.
- Problem: Team has identified a specific problem and the problem is large enough to have significant market potential or have significant market share.
- Value Proposition: Team has clarified what they believe is the unique value proposition for their target audience.
- Customer Validation: Team has evidence to support they have potential customers that are willing to pay for their solution.
- Product: Team has a basic prototype or proof-of-concept that solves the problem and/or has a product development roadmap.
- Go-to-Market: Team has a basic understanding of their industry and can identify the target customer, the total addressable market, and their initial go-to-market strategy with supporting key metrics.
- Business Model: Team has identified an initial revenue model and can point to similar products in the market as evidence their revenue assumptions are reasonable.
- Business Roadmap: Team has identified a 12-month roadmap of their business with milestones and key assumptions.
The Department of Commerce determines if the applicant meets the parameters of the program, and if so, Commerce will schedule the applicant to pitch their idea in front of a panel of industry experts who ultimately determines eligibility into Phase 1.