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Grand Forks, North Dakota

June 2011

C ENTER FOR I NNOVATION F OUNDATION R ECEIVES EB-5 R EGIONAL C ENTER Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven recently announced that the Center for Innovation Foundation has been approved to operate North Dakota's and Minnesota’s only EB-5 Regional Center. This designation is expected to attract tens of millions of dollars of private investment and create hundreds of new jobs in North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota. Authorized by Congress in the Immigration Act of 1990, the EB-5 program facilitates permanent residency status and Green Cards for immigrants who invest in U.S. companies inside regional centers to help facilitate job growth in rural areas and areas with high unemployment. The program has attracted several billion dollars in foreign investment to the United States and created tens of thousands of new domestic jobs. In February, Senators Conrad

and Hoeven sent a joint letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services expressing their support for the Center for Innovation Foundation's efforts to secure an EB-5 Regional Center designation. "It is imperative that our federal government and the private sector work together to foster job growth and capital investment to bring jobs to the unemployed and underemployed in regions like North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota. The EB-5 Regional Center program is ideally suited and designed for rural regions like ours, and Foreign Direct Investment under the EB-5 program and the resulting increase in jobs would greatly benefit this region," the Senators wrote in their letter.

The new EB-5 Regional Center in North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota is expected to bring foreign capital to high-growth, local companies, inject private investment into regional ventures, and create partnerships between regional angel investors and international investors, all of which will help create more high-quality jobs in the region. The Center for Innovation Foundation made an application to be an EB-5 Regional Center in 2010. The Center for Innovation Foundation anticipates that up to $60 million will be invested in the region over the next 3 to 4 years, creating over 600 jobs. Contact Rodrigo Cintra at (701) 777-3970 or rodrigo@innovators.net or visit www.ndeb5.com for more information about the North Dakota/ Northwest Minnesota EB-5 Regional Center.

Inside this issue: SBA A WARDS

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I NNOVATE ND

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C LEANTECH W ORKSHOP & A CTION S UMMIT

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C LEANTECH S PEAKER &

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S PONSORSHIPS M INI -S OCIETY ÂŽ S UMMER C AMPS

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F LAXMILK TM & NBIA A WARD F INALIST

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Ina Mae Rude Entrepreneur Center Skalicky Tech Incubator 4200 James Ray Drive Grand Forks, ND 58203 Phone: 701-777-3132 Email: newsletter@innovators.net Web: www.innovators.net


Center for Innovation

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M ICHAEL S HOPE OF C LEAN R EPUBLIC , LLC N AMED SBA R EGION VIII Y OUNG E NTREPRENEUR OF THE Y EAR Michael Shope, CEO of Clean Republic, LLC, has been named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2011 Region VIII and North Dakota Young Entrepreneur of the Year. This annual award recognizes small business owners, less than 30 years of age, who exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit. Nominated by Bruce Gjovig, Director and Entrepreneur Coach at the Center for Innovation, Shope was selected following a statewide and region-wide competition. SBA’s Region VIII consists of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Shope began his career as an entrepreneur while studying aviation at the University of North Dakota. He invented an innovative flashlight to solve a problem indentified when trying to read maps

while flying at night. He developed and marketed the Tri-Lite LED Flashlight through his first business, Pilot Friendly Products, LLC, under the Center for Innovation’s Mueller Entrepreneur Internship program and with a $20,000 investment from the Dakota Venture Group. After successfully growing the business, Shope sold the company to an aviation equipment supplier. He co-founded his current business Clean Republic, a current incubator tenant of the Center for Innovation, with the goal to produce practical alternative energy products which empower consumers to conserve money and energy without sacrificing an enjoyable standard of living. Clean Republic’s first product is the Hill Topper electric bike conversion kit which has been sold in 14

countries with 1,500 units currently in the field in just one and a half years. The SBA award was presented at the Grand Forks Chamber’s Community and Business Excellence Award Program on May 26. To learn more about Clean Republic and its products visit www.electric-bike-kit.com.

J OHN AND S TEPHANIE S TOBER OF F LAX USA, I NC . N AMED SBA N ORTH D AKOTA F AMILY -O WNED B USINESS OF THE Y EAR

John and Stephanie Stober, co-owners of Flax USA, Inc. near Goodrich, ND, have been named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2011 North Dakota Jeffrey Butland FamilyOwned Small Business of the Year. The Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Small Business of the Year award honors a family-owned and operated business which has been passed on from one generation to the next.

challenges including high fuel, machinery and equipment costs along with low prices for certain types of crops. Wanting to stay on the farm, the Stobers began to look for ways to add value to what they were producing or find alternate markets. Looking to the “old standby”, flax, they began producing a variety that is especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Targeting the health food and organic food industries, they started production and distribution from their farm location with all three children pitching in to work with the planting, harvesting, milling, cleaning, and bagging of their Golden Omega Flax.

The Stober family farm’s roots go back to 1901 when their family began growing flax and other agricultural products outside of Goodrich, ND. In the 1990s, traditional farming faced a number of

After completing his education at the University of North Dakota where he majored in Marketing/Entrepreneurship and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, the Stobers’ oldest

son, Jared, returned to the family business as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing. The Stobers market their products online through their website, through Pride of Dakota and various dealers. With assistance from Marv Erdman, a counselor for SCORE – “Counselors to America’s Small Business” – they have also been able to secure a contract with a national food wholesaler which distributes their products across the country. As their business grows, they have been able to provide employment and business opportunities for their neighbors in this rural area. To learn more about Flax USA and its products read the FlaxmilkTM article on Page 7 and visit www.flaxusa.com.


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F IVE I NNOVATE ND W INNERS A WARDED $15,000 E ACH The North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner, Alan Anderson, announced five winners for the fifth statewide Innovate ND program on May 24. A panel of 12 private sector judges made the final selections out of a field of 20 finalists. Winners each received $15,000 in cash and a valuable package of in-kind professional services to help them launch and grow their business. The winner of the People's Choice Award was also named. "This is an exciting program because it demonstrates that innovation and entrepreneurship are alive and well and hard at work in North Dakota," Anderson said. "Business development drives our economic growth and it all starts with innovative people who have a promising business idea and the desire to build that venture right here in our state." The five winning entries, unranked, are: The LightsOn Safety Solutions – John Holtan, Chris Lane, Kara Holtan and Mike Holman of Bismarck – A selfcertification system for mining companies and firemen that preserves human life by properly training these individuals how to interpret hazardous gas atmospheres and provides real-time training by simulating real meters and teaches the students how to interpret the readings without putting them in harm's way. Talon by Safe Pursuit, LLC. – Evan Anderson, Jon Sanstead, Chris Loraas, and Ken Walter of Bismarck – Enables law enforcement officers to quickly and safely bring fleeing vehicles to a stop by securely grabbing the back of the fleeing vehicle the moment contact is made with its bumper.

Tommies LB Roller – Stan Tomlinson, Mike Tomlinson and Jason LaDuke of Turtle Lake – A specialty tool specifically designed for electricians and electrical lineman to use for pulling large conductors through an electrical LB by greatly reducing the amount of time spent performing this task and preventing hand injuries. Field of View, LLC. – David Dvorak and Jonathan Alme of Grand Forks – Utilizes remotely piloted aircraft to produce timely, high-resolution imagery depicting relative crop health to increase a net profit realized through a costsavings on field inputs combined with an increased yield. Lift'N Buddy – Aaron Lamb, Richard Cossette, Nate Trostad, and Douglas Snider of Fargo – Combines the best of a standard two-wheeler's durability and functionality with automatic lifting and lowering capabilities into one versatile mobile lifting device. With multiple attachments available, we can customize it for proper ergonomics for nearly any person and almost any lifting and moving job. The winner of the People's Choice Award went to Valley Med Flight. This is an idea to expand its Critical Care Air Ambulance operation. More than 2,200 total votes were cast. For the third year, the $500 cash award was sponsored by the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce. The Center for Innovation provided operational leadership and educational content to the Governor's Innovate ND program.

"These businesses have strong potential for creating jobs and economic development in our state," Bruce Gjovig, entrepreneur coach and director of the Center for Innovation, said. The awards were presented at the Innovate ND Awards Social and Ceremony on May 24 in Grand Forks. This event was presented by the North Dakota Department of Commerce. The final competitors were narrowed from 58 teams that began the competition in October 2010. All finalists completed an extensive written summary and made an oral presentation in front of the panel of judges. In selecting winners, judges looked at five criteria: innovation, commercial viability, investment opportunity, entrepreneur team, and quality of presentation. The People's Choice Award was determined by online voting. Innovate ND was launched in November 2006 by Governor Hoeven and is coordinated by the Governor's Office, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the Center for Innovation Forum Communications is the lead sponsor for Innovate ND. Participants paid $250 to enroll in the program. "Our goal with this initiative is to help entrepreneurs turn business ideas into functional businesses," Gjovig said. "To date, nearly 800 people with 350 ideas have participated in the program and 100 new businesses are operational or in the development stage as a result." The program was made possible by more than $200,000 in private-sector contributions and in-kind professional services donations as well as appropriated funds from the Department of Commerce. For more information, see www.innovateND.com.


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Center for Innovation


Center for Innovation

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C AL CEF C LEAN E NERGY A NGEL F UND M ANAGER TO S PEAK AT C LEANTECH 2011 W ORKSHOP AND A CTION S UMMIT Ms. Susan Preston, a leader in clean energy finance, is scheduled to speak at the Cleantech 2011 Workshop and Action Summit in Grand Forks on June 19-21. Preston is a general partner of CalCEF Clean Energy Angel Fund. CalCEF is a private venture capital fund that invests in seed stage clean energy companies. The fund invests in a wide range of energy-related companies. Preston is a patent attorney and a worldrecognized expert in angel financing and angel organizations. She has spent most of her career in senior management positions in public and private companies.

Preston speaks nationally and internationally on economic development, angel and venture financing. “Ms. Preston is a national expert in angel investing as well as in investing in cleantech ventures. We have worked on several projects together over the years, and we are fortunate to have Ms. Preston bring her expertise to our conference,“ said Bruce Gjovig, program cochair of Cleantech 2011 and director of the Center for Innovation. Preston is one of the founders of the Angel Capital Association, the North American industry association for angel organizations. She was an Entrepreneurin-Residence with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for six years and continues to serve as a consultant, specifically focusing on initiatives related to angel investing and angel organizations. At the conference, Preston will review what angel investors are looking for in a

cleantech venture and how entrepreneurs should structure the deal/ relationship with angel investors. She will share her experience and perspective on these topics based on lessons learned along the way. She will also give her expert insight on what angels would like cleantech ventures to do before they approach investors and what pitfalls companies should avoid. Cleantech 2011 is a unique combination of events designed to foster and promote sustainable energy-related technology centers. It is hosted by two University of North Dakota-based groups— the Sustainable Energy Research Initiative and Supporting Education (SUNRISE) program and the Center for Innovation. Contact Tiffany Roberts at (701) 777 -3132 or tiffany@innovators.net or visit www.theresearchcorridor.com/ sunrise for more information about Cleantech 2011.

S PONSORSHIP O PPORTUNITIES S TILL A VAILABLE AT P REMIERE S USTAINABLE E NERGY E VENT IN G RAND F ORKS Two‐hundred to three‐hundred technical, business and governmental experts in the fields of clean technologies from throughout the nation – and more particularly from the Upper Midwest – will gather in Grand Forks on June 19-21 for the Cleantech 2011 Workshop and Action Summit. This is an excellent opportunity to gain exposure to potential clients and business partners. Sponsorship opportunities are available to help you showcase and market your company to this targeted audience. Renewable fuels and chemicals, solar, wind, geothermal energy, fixed combustion systems (clean coal), coal/

biomass blending, carbon capture, and energy conservation are the many technical areas included in the conference.

nationally recognized for its work in fostering and developing business connections with novel technologies.

Business involvement topics include technology startup companies, venture capital firms, angel investment funds, entrepreneurs, and end‐user companies such as utilities, fuel companies and chemical companies.

Multiple levels of sponsorship are available, ranging from extensive promotional opportunities as a Platinum Sponsor ($5,000 or greater) to more limited exposure at Gold, Silver and General Sponsor levels. For more information about sponsorship opportunities visit: www.theresearchcorridor.com/ sunrise/sponsorships.html

Networking time is included in the conference. Specific time is set aside to allow networking of participants and sponsors. The conference is hosted by ND SUNRISE, a technology research group, and the Center for Innovation, which is

Contact Tiffany Roberts at (701) 777 -3132 or tiffany@innovators.net or visit www.theresearchcorridor.com/ sunrise for more information about Cleantech 2011.


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M INI -S OCIETY ® Y OUNG E NTREPRENEURS S UMMER C AMPS N OW E NROLLING 2011 M INI -S OCIETY ® C AMPS B ELCOURT J ULY 18-22 ~ B ISMARCK A UGUST 1-5 ~ D ICKINSON J UNE 27-J ULY 1 ~ F ORT Y ATES J ULY 25-29 ~ G RAND F ORKS J UNE 6-10 ~ M INOT J ULY 18-22 ~

The goal of the ND Youth Entrepreneurship Education Program is to give youth and teachers the authentic experience of entrepreneurship while building a better community through individual initiative and collaborative action. Youth and teachers think and act as entrepreneurs and community leaders. They apply their academic, social and technological skills in a true-to-life environment. Teachers, who register for the camp to earn continuing education credits, learn how entrepreneurial thinking in the classroom can be an effective strategy for meeting many of their academic achievement, social interaction and personal development goals. The program is part of a statewide effort encouraging youth to consider business ownership as a real career option and community

leadership as a rewarding outlet for their natural creativity. On the first morning of MiniSociety® Young Entrepreneurs Summer Camp, kids and teachers establish their own town, vote on its name, design their own currency, and organize their town council. Camp facilitators use North Dakota examples to demonstrate how entrepreneurs recognize opportunities that others may have overlooked. Then the young citizens start up their own businesses offering goods or services they believe their new neighbors need or want. As business owners they are responsible for setting prices, marketing the business, keeping accurate records, and actively participating in town council meetings.

Their currency is real because participants earn it to buy business supplies, hire employees and pay bills. The businesses are real because the decisions made will affect cash flow, business growth and profits or losses. Managing all these new challenges teaches valuable lessons in entrepreneurship, economics, personal money management, citizenship, leadership, resilience, and ethics. Experience is the best teacher. To learn more about the ND Youth Entrepreneurship Education Program and Mini-Society® Young Entrepreneurs Summer Camps contact Barry Striegel at 701-741-6985 or b.striegel@und.edu or visit www.ndyoungentrepreneurs.org.

Mini-Society® is not a simulation, a game or make-believe.

N EW T OWN J UNE 13-17 ~ P ARSHALL J UNE 13-17 ~ P EMBINA C OUNTY J UNE 6-10 ~ W AHPETON J ULY 11-15 ~ W ILLISTON J UNE 20-24 ~

R EGISTER N OW AT WWW . NDYOUNG ENTREPRENEURS . ORG

New This Year! iPADS in the Young Entrepreneur Business Center to design web pages, create and transmit live promos, design print ads, manage financial records, and create colorful charts.


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F LAX USA, I NC . L AUNCHES F IRST Flax USA, Inc. recently launched the first and only FlaxmilkTM, an all natural dairy free beverage made from flax seed. Flax USA also announced FlaxmilkTM is now available at Walmart. Flax is a powerhouse of diseasefighting compounds researchers have found prevent heart disease, protect against inflammatory disorders and certain cancers, and lower your cholesterol. FlaxmilkTM is a balanced source of Omega-3, Omega-6 and “good fats” and contains as much calcium as dairy milk. FlaxmilkTM can be enjoyed by the glass, in smoothies, over your favorite cereal, or as a replacement for milk in your favorite recipes. FlaxmilkTM Highlights  Excellent Source of Omega

3’s– 1,100 mg per serving  Dairy Free  Gluten Free  Lactose Free  Soy Free  Kosher  Original & Vanilla flavors Flax USA has been producing flax since 1901 on a fifth generation farm. Flax USA products are made from the finest natural ingredients like cold pressed unrefined flax seed oil, whole golden and brown flax seed and evaporated cane sugar.

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custom holiday lighting system for homes called MyLites under the Center for Innovation’s Mueller Entrepreneur Internship program. In 2007, Flax USA was awarded a $77,500 grant from the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) for marketing to grow the business. To learn more about Flax USA and its products visit www.flaxusa.com.

The Center for Innovation’s Innovatively Increasing Access to Capital program aims to improve access to capital for incubator clients and entrepreneurs throughout the state of North Dakota. The Center for Innovation has developed a unique

The Center for Innovation has received eight national and international awards for excellence in entrepreneurship, incubation and tech-based economic development. In 2010, the Center for Innovation was certified by the NBIA as a Soft Landing

I NCUBATOR T ENANT :

S TUDENT E NTREPRENEURS : A NTIQUE D OOR V INTAGE R ENTALS C AITLIN L E V ESSEUR ~

C ENTER FOR I NNOVATION N AMED F INALIST P RESTIGIOUS I NTERNATIONAL A WARD menu of capital options for entrepreneurs, including the nation’s first fully student-run venture fund for early stage ventures, a statewide network of angel investment funds for growth companies and a program to facilitate foreign direct investment in later-stage companies throughout the region.

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Flax USA Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Jared Stober, graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2006 where he majored in Marketing/ Entrepreneurship and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He developed and marketed interchangeable

The Center for Innovation was named one of two finalists for the National Business Incubation Association’s (NBIA) 2011 Incubator Innovation Award for its Innovatively Increasing Access to Capital program. The other finalist is Powerhouse Ventures in Canterbury, New Zealand.

W ELCOME !

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International Incubator for the third time, one of just 19 incubators worldwide so designated for being well suited for international entrepreneurs. The NBIA is the world's leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship. Each year, the NBIA Incubation Awards honor the business incubation programs, graduates and client companies that exemplify the best of the industry. To learn more about the NBIA and its programs visit www.nbia.org.

G LARESTRIPS T YSON P AGE ~ H OCKEYCAMPS . COM B RETT B RUNETEAU ~ USAF A CADEMY C ENTER OF I NNOVATION I NTERN M ICKAYLA Z INSLI ~


Ina Mae Rude Entrepreneur Center Norm Skalicky Tech Incubator 4200 James Ray Drive Grand Forks, ND 58203

NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Grand Forks, ND 58201 PERMIT NO. 10

Address Service Requested Phone: 701-777-3132 Fax: 701-777-2339 E-mail: newsletter@innovators.net

VISIT

US ON THE WEB: WWW.INNOVATORS.NET

THE CENTER FOR INNOVATION HELPS ENTREPRENEURS, STUDENTS AND RESEARCHERS LAUNCH NEW TECHNOLOGIES, PRODUCTS AND VENTURES, DEVELOP BUSINESS AND MARKETING PLANS, ACCESS TALENT OF UNIVERSITIES AND SECURE VENTURE FINANCING. WE ARE A DIVISION OF THE UND COLLEGE OF BUSINESS AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION.

HOLADAY ATHLETIC CENTER • U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY • COLORADO SPRINGS, CO Bart Holaday, USAFA Class of ‘65 and Center for Innovation Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman, and his late wife, Lynn, committed $5 million toward the construction of a new indoor athletic training facility. The 92,000 square-foot center will house a regulation-sized field that can accommodate football, lacrosse and soccer, in addition to many other athletic activities.

Congratulations to ICON Architectural Group on their recent move from the Center for Innovation to their new building. ICON is now located at 4050 Garden View Drive* Grand Forks, ND 58201 701-772-ICON (4266) www.iconarchitects.com Opposite the Alerus Center/Canad Inns off 42nd Street

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Left: Construction progress in March 2011 Below: Artist’s rendering


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