Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Bismarck, ND

Bismarck, ND

Located on the banks of the Missouri River, Bismarck is a small city entrepreneurial hotspot.

Bismarck, ND, located on the banks of the Missouri River, is the state’s capital and second-largest city. A business hub for both the state and the region, Bismarck has developed a reputation as an entrepreneurial hotspot, especially among smaller cities.

In 2019, WalletHub ranked Bismarck 35th on its list of the best small cities to start a business, with a ranking of 22 in the “Business Environment” category. Additionally, Bismarck appeared at 30 on a ranking by Verizon of the best small cities to start a business in the same year. Finally, ChamberOfCommerce.org ranked the city fourth overall in its 2019 list of the best small cities for business.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Bismarck’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Those interested in investing can participate in the Bismarck Cashflow Meetup, which meets regularly to allow members to play the Cashflow board game and discuss investing.

The Code Connect meetup group provides an opportunity for those in and around Bismarck to learn the basics of coding and technology development.

Every Monday morning in Bismarck, the Master Networks Monday meetup group hosts networking events for area business owners and entrepreneurs.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

1 Million Cups has a branch in the Bismarck-Mandan area that meets every Wednesday evening in the area to allow its members to meet one another and make connections.

The Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce hosts regular events aimed at local entrepreneurs and business owners, including frequent networking dinners.

Among the many regular events hosted by the Bismarck-Mandan Young Professionals Network include awards ceremonies and annual dinners.

Bismarck State College hosts a number of conferences to support the continued professional development of its students, including some focusing on technology and energy generation.


Startup Competitions:

Just outside of Bismarck, the city of Mandan hosts an annual pitch competition for local small business owners that rewards winners with cash and the opportunity to earn a forgivable loan.

Across the state in Fargo, North Dakota State University runs a startup competition open to its students as well as “Tri-College student participants and beyond.”


Co-working Spaces:

Juniper Workantile is a co-working space in Bismarck that offers a variety of working setups to its members, with plans starting as low as $10 per month.



The only traditional makerspace in the state of North Dakota is MELD Workshop, a membership-based workshop in Fargo that also hosts classes and workshops.



Formerly known as the Center for Technology & Business, CTB is an organization that runs a number of programs and organizes resources to support area entrepreneurs.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce runs Innovate ND, a program that runs entrepreneurship centers that help area business owners grow.

The North Dakota Small Business Development Center has locations across the state, including one in Bismarck, that helps develop small businesses and startups in North Dakota.



Cleantech Open is a massive accelerator program for clean technology programs, with the Midwest branch open to entrepreneurs from North Dakota, among other states.

The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks runs a technology accelerator program that works with startups from around the state and elsewhere.



Bismarck State College offers its students a variety of classes in entrepreneurship as well as a number of other resources to support those interested in launching startups.

In the state’s largest city of Fargo, North Dakota State University has a wide variety of resources, both inside and outside of the classroom, to support student entrepreneurship.

The University of Mary in Bismarck offers undergraduate and graduate programs in business administration that, in part, works to educate its students in entrepreneurship.

In Grand Forks, the University of North Dakota’s School of Entrepreneurship offers students both a bachelor’s degree and certificate in entrepreneurship.


Angel Groups/VCs:

With locations in Minneapolis and Fargo, Arthur Ventures is a venture capital firm that invests in B2B software companies located outside of Silicon Valley.

Located in Grand Oaks, the Dakota Venture Group is run entirely by students at the University of North Dakota and primarily invests in companies in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Organized by the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the Venture Capital Loan Program provides financing to small businesses throughout the state.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Subscribers to the Bismarck Tribune can also deliver the e-edition of the paper, which includes local business news, directly to email inboxes.

The Greater North Dakota Chamber offers both physical and digital copies of the Report on Business, which covers statewide business news, to those interested.

Prairie Business Magazine, which covers business news in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, offers print subscriptions, online subscriptions, and a newsletter.


Are you familiar with an entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Bismarck not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

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Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.