Collaborations to Drive Economic Growth

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Collaborations to Drive Economic Growth

Partnering to Support a Thriving Community

You might say that the GFMEDC’s biggest strength lies in the partnerships and collaborations we’ve cultivated. Our conversations and connections create opportunities for success and have the potential to drive big results. Our region has a history of strong collaborations that drive economic growth.

Grand Farm

Started as a big dream, Grand Farm (powered by Emerging Prairie) has evolved into an organization poised to tackle some of agriculture’s biggest challenges bringing together some of the most powerful names in the industry. The GFMEDC has been there from the beginning, lending support however we can. Our partnership continues to evolve and grow aligning with our efforts to attract, retain primary-sector companies and support a thriving regional economy.

Regular meetings with Grand Farm staff ensure we can take advantage of activities and projects to support regional growth. Often we specifically support or market to primary-sector companies connected to Grand Farm. The GFMEDC and Grand Farm have been deliberate in aligning our work and tracking progress relating to company recruitment, leads generated, research partnerships and capital attraction.

Grand Farm’s growing national and global brand recognition creates opportunities to strategically engage with and host multiple AgTech related prospects throughout the year which includes delegates from the Canadian AgTech Accelerator along with speakers, sponsors, and visitors of major Grand Farm events like Cultivate and Field Days. Grand Farm regularly has visitors in town and engages the GFMEDC as part of the collaborative process to attract and recruit companies and talent to the region.

Targeted Sector Development through Events
Autonomous Nation & Cultivate

Cultivate and Autonomous Nation have become two critically important Grand Farm events relative to the GFMEDC’s targeted AgTech and Autonomous Systems sector development. The GFMEDC has been a proud financial sponsor and strategic partner supporting these events and hosting dozens of business prospects. In 2024, our organization serves as a steering committee member for AgTech Week. Cultivate is an anchor event.

GFMEDC participates in field visits and outreach to corporate and industry partners around the world. In 2023, GFMEDC joined Grand Farm and 30 other private and public sector partners and business prospects on a field experience to Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Washington.

Partnering to Create a Video to Support Brand Awareness

Partners like the Fargo Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau just make our jobs easier. As we continue to build and implement a robust talent attraction campaign, the Fargo Moorhead CVB came to the table with an investment into our brand identity video. And with a tight timeline and big dreams for a robust and captivating video, Fargo Moorhead CVB staff rolled up their sleeves and reached out to their network to help make it happen.

Learn more about the Talent Attraction Campaign.

Lake Agassiz and LOIS Partnership

Connections and conversations can lead to critical partnerships. The GFMEDC has utilized LOIS, a commercial property mapping tool for several years. A conversation with Lake Agassiz Development Group led to an opportunity to expand the tool to the larger region with grant dollars funding a subscription to the tool for three years. Now a six-county region including Cass County benefits from the layered mapping tool.

“We are excited to bring a tool to the greater region that GFMEDC has already proven to be a valuable asset.  We appreciate the expertise and our ongoing partnership with the GFMEDC and are eager to continue adding value together throughout our area,” Amber Metz, (title) Lake Agassiz Development Group.

The tool offers intuitive search functions including building and property sizes along with proximity to assets like airports and incentive zones. Additional reports on community and household demographics are available for free within the tool.

Check it out

Partnering to Support Sector Growth in Bioscience

The GFMEDC, in partnership with the Bioscience Association of North Dakota, North Dakota Department of Commerce, and North Dakota Department of Agriculture, hosted the inaugural Midwest BioDefense Summit.

The two-day summit highlighted the recent growth and potential for the region’s biodefense and bioscience industry and included national thought leaders who discussed best practices in the emerging industry.

For more info, check out the full story in the business development section of the annual report.

Entrepreneurial Support

The GFMEDC has fostered the growth of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for more than a decade. From working directly with entrepreneurs to digging in behind the scenes to support entrepreneurial events, we’re all in when it comes to entrepreneurial support.

The helpful collaboration, connectivity and engagement among the many organizations and individuals within our entrepreneurial support ecosystem play a huge role in why more and more startups are growing here. One particular new ecosystem partner from 2023 was Gener8tor, who launched an equity-based startup accelerator, their free 7-week pre-accelerator program gBETA and the new venture capital fund 1889 Fund.

Within our roles at GFMEDC, we work closely with the local Gener8tor staff in a variety of ways, such as sourcing program applicants, participating in the “Mentor Swarms” mentor meetings, joining the Lunch & Learns and providing direct support and connections to the participating startups.

Read more in our Business Development Section

GFMEDC and Chamber Building a Comprehensive Plan

Looking to 2025 and Beyond

Fueling Our Future was launched in May 2019, to tackle big challenges that no one organization could tackle on their own. For four years, the GFMEDC along with the FMWF Chamber brought leaders together to focus on initiatives to support the three pillars of People, Place and Prosperity.

With numerous accomplishments under our belt, the partnership is evolving into a new multi-year strategy focused on business development, workforce development, public policy and data & analytics. Be on the lookout in the near future as we roll out this new regional comprehensive plan.

As we closed out the Fueling Our Future initiative this past December, we wanted to take a moment to highlight a handful of the key accomplishments:

Document-Ready Sites

This initiative focused on providing the necessary information on industrial and commercial properties in our region required to recruit companies and support the expansion of our existing businesses. January 2022 marked the launch of the first two document-ready sites in our community: Moorhead’s MCCARA site and Fargo’s Holmquist site and 52nd Ave N. In 2023, the program offers four document-ready sites totaling more than 400 acres. We will continue this important initiative into the future, with a target of at least 10 sites available to support primary sector growth.

Campus FM

Campus FM is focused on developing student experiences and programs to help retain local college graduates. For the past several years, the initiative, run by Folkways, offers students the opportunity to take part in summer internships, become digital creators and learn social media systems, and provide area companies the opportunity to connect with students.

Emerging Digital Academy

This 20-week full-stack engineering program prepares students for entry level software development positions. Since its inception, the EDA has had 12 cohorts with 74 graduates and remains North Dakota’s only immersive coding “boot camp.” To date, 33 unique employers have hired their students.

Career Workforce Academies

The Moorhead Career Academy and the Cass County Career Academy projects were a top FOF priority. The initiative dedicated resources to support both projects.

Ignite FMWF

Through the combination of a regional relationship development strategy and a robust technology platform, Ignite FMWF is a community-based approach to developing a workforce and talent infrastructure. Students and job seekers can find jobs, explore careers, get online training and so much more. The system can offer skill-based volunteerism opportunities for businesses and employees to engage with students through guest speaking in classrooms, mentorship opportunities and more.

And the list of partnerships goes on

Our organization works hard to tackle big challenges by making sure the right partners are in the room. And the list of talented leaders is long. We may provide others data to support their work, connect them to the right people or resources, or we may bring people to the table.

For example, we collaborate with the FMWF Chamber on a number of initiatives such as workforce development. Other collaborations often include work with Job Service, Bank of ND, ND Department of Commerce or Minn. DEED. If it supports primary-sector business success and growth, we’ll take a seat at the table.

Partnership 1

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