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Center for Technology & Business and IDEA Center Unite


BISMARCK – Center for Technology & Business (CTB) and the IDEA Center have announced a merger to increase resources and streamline services for entrepreneurs across the state of North Dakota.

“Small businesses and entrepreneurs both will benefit from this expanding relationship,” said Al Anderson, North Dakota Department of Commerce Commissioner. “Building on the strengths of both organizations will create greater focus for individuals seeking support to grow their business ideas in North Dakota.”

CTB already provides a variety of entrepreneurial programs and services focused on leadership, technology and business development across the state - including the operation of the North Dakota Women’s Business Center. The IDEA Center is one of the five certified Entrepreneurial Centers in North Dakota and has offered specialized programs for entrepreneurs and inventors since 2005. Bringing the IDEA Center in house as an extended program of CTB will expand existing entrepreneurial, business incubator and workforce development services to the list of programming opportunities already offered at CTB.

“Housing the IDEA Center services under Center for Technology & Business means we can now do an even better job of serving and fostering small business growth through nourishing, encouraging, supporting, and preparing entrepreneurs to develop and succeed. We are creating a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Bismarck/Mandan community with statewide outreach and offerings and I am excited for the opportunities this will bring to entrepreneurs in the region,” explained CTB Executive Director, Deb Eslinger.

The two organizations have worked closely in the past and the new merger is an important step in maximizing efficiencies and scaling opportunities for those they serve. CTB will relocate just down the street to the IDEA Center building and the IDEA Center will officially roll under the operations of CTB with Board of Directors and team members from both teams uniting as one organization. This long-awaited merger will eliminate prior organizational duplications, expand scope of services and program reach, capitalize on a shared partner network, and maximize use of staff expertise to further benefit clientele.

“We look forward to this opportunity to increase our reach and provide a stronger home base for individuals needing entrepreneurial services. This provides a more strategic and unified economic development plan for our community and the state as a whole,” noted Ellyn Brannan. Brannan served as executive director of the IDEA Center and stayed on through the merger to ensure its success. She has chosen to move to a contracted, part-time position with the organization post merger.  

The public can expect to see more availability for individual business advising services, an increased range of program offerings and a stronger voice for entrepreneurial needs in the region.

“I am very excited to see these two organizations become one. As a small business owner who has worked with both groups, I know this merger will result in a very strong organization which will bring great benefits to other area entrepreneurs,” shared Sommer Jacob, owner of Studio North and Northland Concrete & Excavation.

The merger is set to take effect immediately; however staff can still be reached at their existing contact information. All questions and inquiries can be directed to Deb Eslinger at 701-223-0707 or A ribbon cutting ceremony and open house will be held on October 13 from 3-5 p.m. at 2720 East Broadway Ave, Bismarck.

Entrepreneurs needing assistance in starting a business or small businesses looking for help in any area of business development can find more information at or