Jun. 11—The North Dakota Department of Commerce has announced that the Innovation Technology Loan Fund will begin accepting applications on June 11, and a grant promoting technical skills training will open shortly after that.

The loan program, called LIFT, was established by the Legislature in 2019, to provide funding for companies developing new technology in the state. The program has the aim of diversifying the state’s economy beyond agriculture and oil, by supporting businesses working on advanced computing and data management, agricultural technology, unmanned aerial systems and more.

“We are excited to build on the success of this program from last biennium,” said Josh Teigen, commerce director of economic development and finance. “The LIFT program is one of our best tools for bringing economic resiliency and diversification to North Dakota’s economy and we look forward to the opportunity to further invest in great companies and entrepreneurs.”

The program has been recapitalized with $15 million to support companies developing new technology. There is no fixed loan cap set by the program, but loans generally tend to max out at $1 million. The note carries a 0% interest rate for the first two years, a 2% rate for the following two years and then a rate equal to a standard Bank of North Dakota loan for the remaining years.

Businesses in sectors ranging from value added-agriculture, energy and unmanned aerial systems to health care, are encouraged to apply.

The application can be found online at www.business.nd.gov/lift/.

The commerce department is also anticipating opening the application portal for the Technical Skills Training Grant, by June 15.

Through the program, North Dakota colleges and universities, — for non-degree programs — business, non-profit organizations and trade organizations, can apply for funding to expand rapid re-skilling programs for workers looking to change careers, or remain employed in the state.

The grant offers program providers up to $100,000 to offset the cost of adding capacity and redesigning training programs. The Commerce Department’s website has yet to be updated to include the new application portal, but program guidelines can be found online.