North Dakota welcomes 22 million visitors each year, creating the demand for expanded experiences. If you are considering starting or helping a new tourism business and need assistance, the resources here can help. Below is a listing of agencies and organizations that can help with a variety of issues from strategic planning, developing a business plan, marketing advice and ideas for funding sources.
2020 Tourism Main Street Expansion Grant Program
The purpose of the Main Street Expansion Grant Program is to support new or expanding businesses that provide an improved visitor experience, with an emphasis on attracting visitors to a city or town’s downtown.
“By developing more enjoyable experiences in our downtown cores, our communities will have more to attract residents and visitors, Tourism Division Director Sara Otte Coleman said. ”Today’s visitors are drawn to the unique architecture, local culture and diverse activities that are offered by creating a vibrant downtown.”
The program’s intent is to fund new projects that attract visitors from outside of North Dakota for at least one overnight stay with the goal of giving the community and state another experience to entertain visitors and potential new residents.
Grants for 2020 have been awarded. Check back for future rounds in 2021.
Contact Tammy Backhaus at 701-328-2526 for more information.
2020 Main Street Vibrancy Grant Program
The Main Street Initiative (MSI) Vibrancy Grant Program supports local efforts to increase community vibrancy by providing seed funding for a small project that will build momentum and inspire additional projects. Community vibrancy improves quality of life, helps attract and retain workforce, and enhances community pride.
Contact Tammy Backhaus at 701-328-2526 for more information.
NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE TOURISM DIVISION: 1600 E. Century Ave., Suite 2, PO Box 2057, Bismarck, ND 58502-2057. Tourism Division can assist with visitor research, travel trends, gap analysis and promotion. Call 800-435-5663/701-328-2525.
NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & FINANCE: 1600 E. Century Ave., Suite 2, PO Box 2057, Bismarck, ND 58502-2057. The North Dakota Development Fund may be a source for many primary sector businesses. The fund provides "gap financing" not available from most conventional lenders. Click here to view the application. Contact Josh Teigen at 701-955-4210.
NORTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE/DIVISION OF COMMUNITY SERVICES: 1600 E. Century Ave., Suite 2, PO Box 2057, Bismarck, ND 58502-2057. The Community Development Block Grant Program may be a source of gap financing for tourism-related projects. Contact Shantel Dewald at 701-328-2618.
REGIONAL COUNCILS: 1600 E. Century Ave, Suite 2, PO Box 2057, Bismarck, ND 58502-2057, 701-328-5300. Regional Councils are non-profit organizations authorized by state statute and charged with the responsibility to assist units of local governments in carrying out economic development planning and technical assistance, including funding of tourism business.
NORTH DAKOTA SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER: Gamble Hall Room 140; 293 Centennial Drive, Stop 7308; Grand Forks, ND 58202-7308; 701-777-3700. The center provides free individual counseling to small business owners. It assists businesses in solving problems or taking opportunities in all areas of business endeavors. The center's needs assessment process helps target the kind of help a business owner needs. Information on the Eight Regional Centers can be found on the website http://ndsbdc.org
NORTH DAKOTA COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: 1025 N 3rd St, PO Box 387, Bismarck, ND 58502. The foundation serves North Dakota communities statewide with the goal of improving the quality of life for the state's citizens. The foundation administers many different types of funds. Most of the funds are restricted to a specific purpose. 701-222-8349.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION: The NDSU Extension offers many programs to help develop tourism, from community leadership development, strategic planning to agri-tourism workshops. Contact Director Lynette Flage at 701-231-7782 or Extension Leadership and Civil Engagement Specialist Jodi Bruns at 701-349-3249, ext. 127 for more information.
NORTH DAKOTA COUNCIL ON THE ARTS: 1600 E. Century Ave., Suite 6, Bismarck, ND 58503. Grants are available to organizations, communities and schools for a variety of projects that involve at least one arts discipline. Grants are also available to artists, volunteers, board members and administrators for workshops and other forms of professional development. The council will provide outreach workshops on writing NDCA grants and other technical assistance. Contact Kim Konikow at 701-328-7592.
NORTH DAKOTA PARKS AND RECREATION: 1600 E. Century Ave. Suite 3, Bismarck, N.D., 58503.
Recreation Grant Programs: Two funding opportunities for outdoor recreation development programs: Recreation Trail Funds and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, application deadline of May 1. Contact 701-328-5348.
NORTH DAKOTA GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT: 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095. The agency provides a wealth of information on hunting and fishing regulations and conservation and education programs. It also has a small grant program for watchable wildlife. Contact 701-328-6300.
NORTH DAKOTA FOREST SERVICE: 307 First St. E., Bottineau, ND 58318. Technical, financial and educational assistance relating to the management of private forest lands, state forest lands, urban and community forests, tree planting and fire protection are administered by the agency. Contact 701-228-5422.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: 601 Riverfront Drive; Omaha, NE 68102-2571. The Rivers and Trails Program provides assistance in reaching community goals. Contact 202-354-6900.
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: 5001 Southgate Dr., Billings, Mont., 59101. The Challenge Cost Share Program is focused on BLM-managed lands, specifically in the areas of recreation site management. Contact 406-896-5037.
NORTH DAKOTA OUTDOOR HERITAGE FUND: State Capitol, 14th Floor, 600 E Boulevard Ave. Dept. 405. North Dakota's Outdoor Heritage Fund was established in 2013 as a multi-million dollar program to provide grants to state agencies, tribal governments, political subdivisions, and nonprofit organizations, with higher priority given to projects that enhance conservation practices in the state. The Outdoor Heritage Fund will receive up to $40 million per biennium from oil and gas production tax revenue. Contact 701-328-3722.