Update on COVID-19

Update on COVID-19

Posted on March 16, 2020

As of June 3, 2020, North Dakota has 2679 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Like many businesses across the state, NDTO staff will be working from home until further notice, but we are still available to assist you with any export related issues that may impact your business. If you need assistance, please email info@ndto.com and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

Even though this pandemic may have slowed your international business, NDTO does have resources available to you to continue to grow your business worldwide. For companies that qualify, the STEP program has funding available for certain market research and marketing activities. Please contact the NDTO for more information on how you can utilize our various services.

Below, are some useful resources for your business and travel questions.

Business Resources

Travel Resources

Press Release: North Dakota Trade Office Hires New Executive Director

Press Release: North Dakota Trade Office Hires New Executive Director

Posted on December 26, 2019

The North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) is pleased to announce that after an extensive search process, current team member Drew Combs has accepted the role of Executive Director. He will lead and manage the administration, programs and strategic vision plan for the NDTO. Drew has nearly two decades of international and domestic experience in agriculture and energy, and has lived and worked in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

"Drew has the knowledge, experience and passion to lead the North Dakota Trade Office," said Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, NDTO's chairman of the board of directors. "We're especially excited about his background in agriculture and energy - pillars of North Dakota's economy - as well as his experience in logistics, a vital issue for our exporters."

Drew joined the NDTO in August 2019 as a Business Development Executive. Prior to his involvement with NDTO, he was Director of Minerals Management at the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands for over eight years. He has also consulted and worked with agricultural as well as oil and gas companies both domestically and internationally and gained a reputation for helping companies succeed in extremely complex and challenging markets.

"I am honored that our board, comprised of business and government leaders, selected me for this position," said Combs. "I look forward to leading a team dedicated to making a positive difference in North Dakota and its businesses while empowering people to expand trade across all borders." A proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Drew has a Bachelor's of Science Degree in political science and history from West Texas A&M University, and a Master's Degree in Energy Business with a logistics focus from the University of Tulsa.

The North Dakota Trade Office is a membership-based, private/public partnership founded in 2004 that provides education, research, advocacy, organization, and leadership so that NDTO members and North Dakota companies can increase exports and grow their international business.

Drew Combs Joins NDTO

Drew Combs Joins NDTO

Posted on October 3, 2019

The North Dakota Trade Office is thrilled to announce that we have a new team member! Drew Combs is NDTO’s newest business development executive and is strategically located in our Bismarck office to assist the western portion of the state. Drew has nearly two decades of international and domestic experience in agriculture and energy, and has lived and worked in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Prior to his involvement with the North Dakota Trade Office, he worked at the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands as the Director of Minerals Management, where he assisted in managing 2.6 million acres, most of which was within the Williston Basin.

Drew grew up raising beef cattle, and his first foray into the international marketplace was importing cattle from Europe and Africa. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from West Texas A&M, as well as a master’s degree in energy business from the University of Tulsa and is working on his proficiency in Arabic. He has a son and daughter with his wife Jannelle, and is a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

International Market Research Covered by STEP grant

International Market Research Covered by STEP grant

Posted on October 3, 2019

If you’re looking for a new way to find target markets and potential buyers for your small business, look no further. NDTO’s STEP program now reimburses costs for international market research provided by the U.S Commercial Service-ND office’s RAISE program.

The Rural America’s Intelligence Service for Exporters (RAISE) program is a nine-step process that produces a worldwide market comparison matrix based on your company’s products and preferences. The matrix highlights the top countries with the best potential for your product, and from these your company chooses the countries where buyers, competitors, market players, industry trends and live prospects will be identified. Finally, a strategy is developed to tackle one or several of the top markets.

The NDTO’s STEP program covers up to 75% of RAISE fees, which start at $495. The STEP program is funded in part through a grant from the Small Business Administration and is designed to assist small businesses in growing their international exports. For more information on STEP and to apply for reimbursement for RAISE program research, please visit www.ndto.com. To get started with RAISE, please visit http://www.nddec.com/index.php/raise.

Press Release: SBA awards North Dakota $326,865 State Trade Expansion Program Grant

Press Release: SBA awards North Dakota $326,865 State Trade Expansion Program Grant

Posted on September 19, 2019

FARGO, N.D. - The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) will receive a $326,865 grant to support export growth among small businesses through SBA's competitive State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). This year's grant amount is a $79,251 increase over the dollars awarded in 2018.

"This year's increase in STEP grant funding allows additional opportunities for companies to either begin exporting or expand their current export operations," said Lindsey Warner, NDTO's director of marketing and events. "STEP grant funding helps companies travel to international markets as well as obtain access to in-depth market research provided by the U.S. Commercial Service office in Fargo."

The NDTO's STEP ND 2019 program will reimburse eligible North Dakota companies for expenses paid during international business activities, including foreign market sales trips, research and NDTO-led trade missions.

"SBA is proud to partner with the STEP grant winners and provide much-needed resources that help small businesses increase their sales by exporting," said Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton. "These grants are especially helpful as our country is in the midst of negotiating a number of trade agreements, including one between the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA). All of the Administration's work is aimed at modernizing and creating a better deal for America's consumers, businesses, including small businesses, and workers. The SBA's STEP partners not only help entrepreneurs increase and diversify their customer base; they also help to create and retain local jobs."

Today, trade represents nearly 58% of the world's $80 trillion economy, and 95% of the world's consumers are located outside the United States. Exporting is an important way for U.S. small businesses to grow revenue and boost local economies. STEP is designed to assist states with increasing the number of small businesses that export and the value of those exports.

"It is a little known fact that 98 percent of America's exports are driven by small firms that sell their products and services globally," said SBA Regional Administrator Dan Nordberg. "This federal STEP grant ensures that small businesses in North Dakota will have the tools necessary to expand and market their home grown products and services to international markets.  North Dakota has been a leader in supporting the export potential of small businesses and we're honored to partner with them once again on this important endeavor."

The 2019 STEP awards will help North Dakota assist their small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities. Exporting activities include: participating in foreign trade missions and foreign market sales trips, obtaining services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, accessing expertise in designing international marketing campaigns and export trade show exhibits, and participating in training workshops, as well as other important means of engagement.

"I'm glad to see the North Dakota Trade Office receive another STEP Grant to assist North Dakota companies with expansion in the global marketplace," said SBA North Dakota District Director Al Haut. "The increased award shows SBA's commitment to helping our rural small businesses succeed."

Expanding the base of small business exporters and improving the process to explore new trade opportunities is a key component of SBA's small business strategy. Since 2011, the STEP program has awarded approximately $157 million in grants to fund export opportunities and increase the footprint of small businesses in countries all over the world.

Individual STEP awards are managed at the local level by state government organizations. The U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of International Trade administers the STEP awards at the national level.

How to Apply

The program will accept applications for activities occurring from September 30, 2019 through September 29, 2021. Selection of companies will be first-come-first-served, based on pre-approval of their STEP ND program application and export expansion plan. Any North Dakota small business as defined under SBA guidelines is eligible to apply. Information and applications for STEP ND 2019 will be available by September 30, 2019 on the NDTO website at www.ndto.com.

NDTO will facilitate STEP ND 2019 with the help of partners including North Dakota District Office of the SBA, North Dakota Small Business Development Center (SBDC), North Dakota Department of Agriculture, North Dakota Department of Commerce and the U.S. Commercial Service.

About the North Dakota Trade Office and Small Business Administration

The North Dakota Trade Office is a membership-based, private/public partnership that provides education, research, advocacy, organization, and leadership so that NDTO members and North Dakota companies can increase exports and grow their international business.

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more visit www.sba.gov.

NDTO Member Profile: Crary Industries, Inc.

NDTO Member Profile: Crary Industries, Inc.

Posted on May 2, 2019

Surveying the outside of Crary® Industries, Inc., an equipment manufacturer in West Fargo, one can measure the success of the company by its changing rooflines. When Crary Industries first began to grow, they added another section onto the building. The more products Crary Industries built and sold, the more they added on, until they arrived at the current structure with its varied rooflines housing over 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The site is now home to a multitude of product lines, including Crary Ag, ECHO Bear Cat® and LOCKWOOD®, which are manufactured, assembled and tested on site, then shipped all over the world. The company credits its growth to surrounding itself with good people.

Reinhold Delzer began the business as Delzer Machine Shop, a manufacturer of combine attachments for harvesting sunflower seeds. When Delzer’s health began to fail, he sold the shop to Chuck and Joe Crary, neither of whom had any experience in manufacturing. When Delzer passed away, the community rallied around the small business, with NDSU students designing and drafting equipment, MSUM students helping with marketing and advertising and members of the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE) assisting with purchasing and management.

The efforts worked and the small steel building in West Fargo with little heat and no running water slowly turned itself into the sprawling structure it is today. Crary Industries has three primary branches – Crary Ag, ECHO Bear Cat and LOCKWOOD.

Each branch has multiple product lines, with Crary focusing on ag equipment that maximizes farmer profitability, such as the Crary Air Reel®, Crary Wind System™, Big Top™ hopper extensions, Tile PRO™ drain tiling equipment and more. The LOCKWOOD brand originated in Nebraska and carries potato planting, harvesting and handling equipment.

ECHO Bear Cat is the exporting powerhouse of Crary Industries and manufactures chippers, shredders, stump grinders, trimmers and other outdoor power equipment that is shipped to nearly every country in the world.

Business Unit Director Tim Martin has been with the company for over 10 years and has watched the company’s export markets flourish. When he first joined Crary Industries, ECHO Bear Cat was already a global brand, but Crary Ag products primarily stayed within the U.S. and Canada. Over the last 10 years Crary Ag has expanded into Europe, Japan and South Africa. He attributes the company’s exporting success to once again surrounding itself with good people.

“We connect with dealers and distributors to be our boots on the ground, and rely on them to represent our brand, sell and market on our behalf. They’re more of a functioning sales arm for us.”

His team has a penchant for finding dependable overseas partners that know the market, are connected with buyers and can sell as well as service machinery.

The servicing part is key, Martin believes. If he had to give advice to a manufacturer just starting to export, he’d say don’t forget about the service after the sale.

“It’s easy to chase after today’s sale, but if you sell machinery, remember that machinery breaks and you must provide parts and service.”

Still, Crary Industries does all it can to ensure its equipment won’t be breaking for quite some time. They test 100% of their engine driven units, so each and every piece of equipment that has its own engine is tested by a person before it goes out the door. It’s part of their practice of quality control and keeping almost everything in-house, including parts manufacturing, welding, metalworking, assembly, painting and shipping. They even create their own custom pallets to support the shape and size of their equipment.

It’s all for the customer, Martin says. “We want Crary Industries’ brands to be known for their reliability and the support we give customers both before and after the sale.”

For more information on Crary Industries, visit http://www.craryindustries.com/.