Sunday, April 10, 2011

North Dakota is New Norway

Like Norway, North Dakota has a strong energy industry, a strong overall economy, abundant natural resources, stalwart fiscal management, increasing tourism, and cold weather. A full 30% of North Dakotans claim Norwegian heritage.

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Nodak is currently implementing its second ten-year economic development plan. The strategy, concisely presented in a single document, advocates aggressive policies.

North Dakota Economic Development Strategic Plan 2010-2020

"This plan is intended to be a catalyst for state and local economic development efforts by providing common direction, strategic areas of emphasis, and priorities for investing state and local dollars.

"This strategy is grounded on North Dakota’s assets:
• Educated, hardworking people
• Abundant natural resources
• Strong academic, transportation, and technology infrastructure

"Strategies for Continued Growth:
• Maintain a positive business climate that supports private sector investment
• Continue investing in university-based research and development
• Embrace entrepreneurship and foster a culture of entrepreneurship
• Promote export trade by linking North Dakota businesses with foreign buyers and markets

"North Dakota, 2009:
• Population estimates show out-migration has reversed and the state is growing.
• North Dakota leads the nation in growth of gross domestic product.
• North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.

"North Dakota emerged as an economic leader during the recent global recession by making fiscally sound investments that leveraged our state’s natural strengths.

"The economic assessment contained in the 2002 North Dakota Economic Development Foundation Strategic plan painted a much different picture about North Dakota compared to today. North Dakota has improved considerably in almost all measurements of economic activity.

"Working with the North Dakota Trade Office and with industry groups, the state can take advantage of a lower U.S. dollar and continue building on recent export growth in commodities, processed foods, machinery, and computer and electronic products.

"Growth Challenges

"North Dakota faces a number of challenges for future economic development, some are new but many of them are familiar.

Distance from markets, lack of a major metropolitan area, and a negative image are familiar challenges for North Dakota. New technology and the internet have decreased some of the geographic barriers. And the recent attention North Dakota has received as a result of its strong economy provides a different national storyline about North Dakota that highlights some of the state’s most attractive qualities and provides a sharp contrast to the traditional national story about the state’s remoteness and cold weather.

"Other Issues
North Dakota’s strong economic growth is creating new challenges such as housing shortages, childcare needs, stress on infrastructure and water resources, and the recruitment and retention of workforce.

"Value-Added Agriculture

"North Dakota ranks as the largest United States producer of 16 different commodities, including spring and durum wheat, sunflowers and barley, among other crops. The state currently has an obvious competitive advantage in agricultural production.

"North Dakota Opportunities
• Biotech manufacturing: Among high-tech manufacturing industries, North Dakota has the greatest competitive advantage in biotechnology manufacturing.
• Agricultural biotech: This is a niche within biotechnology. Also referred to as bioengineering, this technology promises to drastically alter the way farmers produce foods. North Dakota’s natural resources in production agriculture provide an obvious competitive edge for ag-biotech.
• Specialty foods for niche markets: Specialty production presents North Dakota with an opportunity to generate growth from higher impact sectors such as agricultural biotech and 'natural' foods. In addition, food production has traditionally been a strong point in North Dakota’s economic, cultural, and political foundations. To the extent that North Dakota has an international reputation, food has been a significant asset. Building on that identification will facilitate greater global recognition for the state.


"North Dakota is poised to be a model for America in the development of diverse energy resources. North Dakota has massive wind energy potential, and is the top producer of 16 different agricultural commodities that provide materials to support biofuels and biomass industries. North Dakota is home to the nation’s only National Center for Hydrogen Technology.

"North Dakota is nationally recognized as having the greatest potential of any state in its capacity to produce energy through wind power. Full realization of our wind power will require further development of the power transmission grid.


"North Dakota’s tourism growth has outpaced the nation, 37.6 percent since 2001 compared to the nation’s growth of 31 percent according to the U.S. Travel Association.

"Tourism ranks third among industries contributing to North Dakota’s economy with $4.1 billion spent in 2008. The growth of tourism is felt statewide.

"The legendary branding, creative strategies, and comprehensive media plans are showing a strong return on investment with $123 returned for every $1 invested in advertising. Advertising North Dakota as a tourism destination also has a positive impact on the image of North Dakota.

"North Dakota Opportunities
• Aggressive marketing: North Dakota continues to be challenged by our lack of image, climate, geographic location, and lack of nationally recognized landmarks which precipitates the need for aggressive marketing.
• Canadian travel continues to be strong. Although affected by exchange rates and border security, a targeted year-round campaign is needed to increase the 1.5 million trips to North Dakota by Canadians.
• Rural and agri-tourism is an area visitors are looking to experience in North Dakota. Efforts to expand these opportunities will help these sectors grow.
• Green travel: As the demand for environmentally friendly travel options grows, North Dakota needs to be prepared to offer green options. Nature-based opportunities do exist and need to be tied to these efforts.

• Continue to measure aggressive media relations campaigns that enhance North Dakota’s image and increase awareness of North Dakota as a great place to live, work, play, visit, and be in business.

"Existing Initiatives
• Fully integrated marketing and communication program to attract visitors from targeted countries including Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Germany, and Australia."

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Innovate ND

"A unique entrepreneurial community that connects coaches, business leaders, investors, and mentors to budding entrepreneurs to create economic growth in North Dakota."

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"How does North Dakota compete with the national business climate?

"Nationally, North Dakota ranks:
#1 for production of 16 agricultural commodities, more than any other state (2008 National Agricultural Statistics Service)
#1 for Safest State (2007 Morgan Quitno Press)
#1 for Cost of Doing Business (2007 CNBC)
#2 for High School Students That Graduate With A Diploma (2007 Education Week, Quality Count)
#3 for Postsecondary Participation (2007 Education Week, Quality Count)
#3 for State Economic Competitiveness (2008 Beacon Hill Institute)
#7 for Best States to Look for Jobs (2008 US Census Bureau; Bureau of Labor Statistics)
#10 for Most Livable State by (2008 Morgan Quitno)"

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"Microsoft Business Solutions
1,333+ employees and division HQ in Fargo
North Dakota-grown Great Plains Software acquired for $1.1 billion in April 2001

750+ employees at Customer Service Operations center in Minot

300+ employees at Internet Distribution Center in Grand Forks

"Goodrich Corporation
Building aerospace cargo systems and replacement military structures in Jamestown

"Great River Energy
Capitalizing on reducing the carbon footprint in North Dakota
Leader in the energy industry

Leading manufacturer of electric thermal storage equipment

"LM Glasfiber
Manufacturing fiberglass blades for wind turbines in Grand Forks

• "State exports nearly 70% of electricity produced

• "Person-to-person access to public officials

• "Only state-owned bank in the nation that offers business expansion loans

• "Taxes: #3 in nation for lowest cost of doing business

"Foreign trade zone
• Two Canada-Mexico Trade Corridors
• Fourth largest port of entry for Canadian goods by truck and rail
• 24-hour ports of entry along the North Dakota-Canadian border
• Four international airports - Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot

• #2 public high school graduation rate
• #3 in SAT scores
• #3 college continuation rate for high school graduates
• #3 college participation rate for 19 year olds
• Nineteen college and university campuses, including two major research universities

Unisys Shared Service Center - Bismarck (325 employees - accounts payable):
• Annual turnover rate 11%, compared to industry standard of 35-40%
• Absenteeism rate 1%

"Quality of Life
• #1 safest state in the nation for 10 out of last 11 years (Morgan Quinto Press)"

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From the entry on North Dakota (Nord-Dakota) in the Norwegian Wikipedia:

"På 1800-tallet ble Nord-Dakota regnet som en del av den ville vesten."

English translation: "In the 1800's, North Dakota was counted as part of the Wild West."

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previous posts on North Dakota

previous posts on Norway

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