Business Financing Programs

There are a number of programs available to help finance a new, expanding or relocating business. These various programs include direct loans, interest rate reductions, loan guarantees and grants.

Local Programs

Pembina County JDA

The Pembina County Job Development Authority offers direct loans to growing businesses in Pembina County that plan to create jobs. The JDA can offer direct loans in the form of gap financing and can also assist with interest buy downs on Bank of North Dakota PACE and Flex PACE loans. In addition, the JDA can provide funding assistance for feasibility studies that could lead to business development in the county. The Pembina County JDA was formed in 1991. The purpose of the organization is to enhance and diversify the county’s economy. For more information about the JDA, please contact or call 701-352-3550. The JDA application can be downloaded here.  JDA Application

Red River Regional Council

The Red River Regional Council administers three revolving loan funds available to growing businesses that are creating or retaining jobs in Pembina, Walsh, Nelson and Grand Forks counties. These loan funds include the Community Development Loan Fund, Red River Revolving Loan Fund and Progress Fund. These loan funds are gap financing programs, designed to fill the gap when equity and commercial lending are unable to complete the loan package. For more information about these loan funds, please contact or call 701-352-3550. We are also on Facebook.

State Programs

Bank of North Dakota

  • PACE (Partnership in Assisting Community Expansion) Program   The PACE family of programs at BND is designed to encourage specific types of economic activity within the State of North Dakota. In general terms, PACE provides an interest buy down that can reduce the borrower’s rate of interest by as much as 5%.
  • Flex PACE (Partnership in Assisting Community Expansion) Program   The Flex PACE feature of the PACE program provides interest buy down to borrowers that do not fit into the traditional definition of a PACE qualifying business. Under Flex PACE, the community determines eligibility and accountability standards. Flex PACE allows communities the ability to provide assistance to borrowers with a business focus or need outside of the current requirements of PACE, such as jobs retention, technology creation with no new jobs, retail, smaller tourist businesses and essential community services.
  • Beginning Entrepreneur Loan   This program assists in business start-up financing by providing a financial institution with an 85% guaranty of a loan not to exceed $100,000.
  • Business Development Loan Program    The Business Development Loan Program is designed to assist new and existing businesses in obtaining loans that would have a higher degree of risk than would normally be acceptable to a lending institution.
  • MATCH Program    The MATCH program is designed to encourage and attract financially strong companies to North Dakota. The program is targeted to manufacturing, processing and value-added industries. Through this program, Bank of North Dakota (BND) participates in loans to financially strong companies and provides interest rates that are among the lowest in the nation.
  • New Venture Capital Program    Administered by the North Dakota Development Fund, the New Venture Capital Program through the Bank of North Dakota is an innovative financial program that provides flexible financing through debt and equity investments for new or expanding businesses in the state of North Dakota. BND can fund rapidly growing companies which require equity funding. The Bank may provide funding for early stage companies which can show clear proof of completed product development and market acceptance as evidenced by growing sales. The Bank will invest in a variety of technologies and types of businesses, including North Dakota Department of Commerce strategic target industries. BND will also invest in growth and later stage manufacturing, service and businesses with profitable growth potential.
  • North Dakota Development Fund   North Dakotans have an interest in financially supporting business as it provides jobs, broadens our tax base and enhances our quality of life. The North Dakota Development Fund coordinates efforts between all the sources of financing, the business and the community. Any project considered for this financing must be feasible and have a reasonable chance of succeeding. The fund provides "gap financing" through loans and equity investments not available from most conventional lenders and is available to any primary-sector business with the exception of production agriculture. The Development Fund also administers the Regional Rural Revolving Loan Fund, which provides funding for primary-sector projects located in a community of less than 8,000 in population or located more than five miles outside the city limits.

Dakota Certified Development Corporation

  • DCDC IRP   The DCDC is authorized by USDA Rural Development to offer direct loans to small businesses across North Dakota. These loans can be provided for community development projects, establishment of new businesses and creation of new jobs or retention of existing jobs. The IRP program is available to businesses located in cities with a population not greater than 25,000. Loan proceeds can be used for financing a new or existing business, purchasing or leasing of equipment, and working capital. Any type of legal entity including individuals, public and private organizations, and government entities can qualify for IRP funding. Borrower must be unable to obtain the proposed loan funds elsewhere at a reasonable rate and 51% of the owners or members must be citizens of the USA.

SBA Guaranteed Loans

  • SBA 504 Loan Program    The 504 loan program is a long-term financing tool for economic development within a community. The 504 Program provides small businesses requiring “brick and mortar” financing with long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire major fixed assets for expansion or modernization. Through the Dakota Certified Development Corporation, the SBA can fund up to 40% of a total project costs. The business receiving the financial assistance must inject at least 10% of the total funds for any project. The remaining balance, usually 50% is provided by a local lending institution.
  • SBA Microloan Program    The Microloan Program provides small, short-term loans to small business concerns as well as not-for-profit child-care centers. SBA makes funds available to specially designated intermediary lenders, which are nonprofit community-based organizations with experience in lending as well as management and technical assistance; these intermediaries make loans to eligible borrowers. The maximum loan amount is $35,000; the average loan is about $13,000.
  • SBA 7(a) Loan Program    The 7(a) Loan Program is SBA’s primary program to help start-up and existing small businesses obtain financing when they might not be eligible for business loans through normal lending channels. The name comes from section 7(a) of the Small Business Act, which authorizes SBA to provide business loans to American small businesses. SBA itself does not make loans, but rather guarantees a portion of loans made and administered by commercial lending institutions. 7(a) loans are the most basic and most commonly used type of loans. They are also the most flexible, since financing can be guaranteed for a variety of general business purposes, including working capital, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, land and building (including purchase, renovation and new construction), leasehold improvements, and debt refinancing (under special conditions). Loan maturity is up to 10 years for working capital and generally up to 25 years for fixed assets.

USDA Rural Development

  • Business and Industry Loan Guarantee    The purpose of the B&I Guaranteed Loan Program is to improve, develop, or finance business, industry, and employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities. This purpose is achieved by bolstering the existing private credit structure through the guarantee of quality loans which will provide lasting community benefits.


Agricultural Production Utilization Committee (APUC)    The mission of the Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC) is to create wealth and jobs through the development of new and expanded uses of North Dakota's agricultural products through a grant program.

A maximum of 15 qualifying applicants present funding proposals on a quarterly basis:

  • basic and applied research grants
  • marketing and utilization grants
  • farm diversification grants
  • agricultural prototype development grant program

North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Grants    North Central Region SARE administers four grant programs, each with specific priorities, audiences and timelines. The focus for all four NCR-SARE grant programs is on research and education. Funding considerations are made based on how well the applicant articulates the nature of the research and education components of their sustainable agriculture grant proposals. The grant area include a Farmer Rancher Grant, Research and Education Grant, Professional Development Grant and Graduate Student Grant.

Value –Added Producer Grant     Grants may be used for planning activities and for working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy. Eligible applicants are independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures.

Rural Energy For America Program Grants/Renewable Energy Systems/Energy Efficiency Improvement Program    The REAP/RES/EEI Grants Program provides grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. It also provides funds to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The program is designed to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses that are able to demonstrate financial need. All agricultural producers, including farmers and ranchers, who gain 50% or more of their gross income from the agricultural operations are eligible. Small businesses that are located in a rural area can also apply. Rural electric cooperatives may also be eligible to apply.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants    The REAP/Feasibility Grant Program provides grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. It also provides funds to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to conduct feasibility study for a renewable energy system. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to 25% of total eligible project costs. Grants are limited to $50,000 for renewable energy feasibility studies. The program is designed to assist farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses. All agricultural producers, including farmers and ranchers, who gain 50% or more of their gross income from the agricultural operations are eligible. Small businesses that are located in a rural area can also apply. Rural electric cooperatives may also be eligible to apply.

SBIR/STTR    The federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs provide more than $2 billion annually in R&D grants and contracts to qualified small businesses (U.S. owned, independently operated, for-profit entities of fewer than 500 employees).

Eleven federal agencies are required by law to provide these funds by setting aside 2.5% of their annual extra-mural R&D budgets for use exclusively by U.S. small businesses for new product R&D. Hence, these programs provide a unique source of start-up and seed capital for small businesses to develop new innovative product concepts. There are few strings attached to these funds; there is no repayment requirement, no equity sacrifice, and most intellectual property rights remain with the small business.

Visit to search for SBIR/STTR solicitation topics and to learn more about SBIR/STTR programs.