The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5”, is a job creation visa program. The program was created in 1990 by Congress and is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The purpose of an EB-5 regional center is to stimulate econometric development, create jobs, and improve regional productivity through foreign direct investment in local businesses, while providing eligible foreign investors an opportunity to become permanent U.S. residents. An EB-5 regional center is an entity that has been approved by USCIS under the Department of Homeland Security. A regional center is defined as any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. The UND Center for Innovation Foundation applied to USCIS for a regional center designation and was granted approval to operate The North Dakota/Minnesota EB-5 Regional Center in April 2011.

Through expert guidance from business coaches, certified entrepreneurial centers and extensive leadership courses, Innovate ND provides the entrepreneurial community of North Dakota the resources needed to help turn an innovative idea into a profitable business. The program now has three phases that grow as your business grows. The Center for Innovation will work with you prior to program acceptance into phase I.


Phase-I – provides up to $2,500 voucher to advance your business or business idea for an entry fee of $250.

  • Build a business plan (or equivalent)
  • Establish goals and a timeline for your business working with center resources


Phase-II – upon review, may provide up to $5,000voucher  to advance your business or business idea for an entry fee of $500.

  • Finalize your business plan (or equivalent)
  • Be coachable and making forward progress on your business
  • Pitch your business plan to a review committee prior to acceptance in phase III


Phase-III – upon review, may provide up to $16,500 grant to advance your business.

  • Complete Phase-III grant application.
  • Must attend or plan to attend the Innovate ND bootcamp
  • Funds can be used to create your business plan, prototype development, coaching and consulting, and marketing assistance at a certified North Dakota entrepreneurial center.

SBIR North Dakota offers eligible small businesses assistance with funding efforts through the federal SBIR and STTR programs. Securing federal funding for your innovation is a critical step towards commercial success. SBIR and STTR programs offer more than $2.5 billion dollars annually to support the development of technology by small businesses across the nation and are an excellent source of undiluted early stage capital, but they are highly competitive. Together, we assemble a team of advocates who will help you evaluate the feasibility of your idea and apply for an SBIR or STTR.

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides an incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the U.S. builds entrepreneurial spirit as it meets specific research and development needs.

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is a program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. Central to the program is an expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions.

The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between the performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

The investment strategy of Dakota Venture Group includes making investments in high-growth ventures started by entrepreneurs in the United States, with preference given to regional ventures. All investments are made with the goal of fostering economic growth. Over the past several years more than 140 DVG student members have screened numerous companies and made multiple investments.

The (701) Angel Fund was established in 2015 to serve the growing capital needs for startups within the Midwest. By utilizing the professional experience of the general partner and vast business knowledge of the board of directors, this fund is well positioned to find high-growth investment opportunities within the region. Angel investing is time consuming and risky. The experienced leadership of the fund leverages its network to quickly identify, evaluate, and de-risk viable opportunities.

Grand Forks


The UND Center for Innovation is partnered with excellent programs that are designed to help you as an entrepreneur in starting or growing your business. Not only will you have access to UND talent but we can help you navigate the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that Grand Forks offers.