Hoeven Marks Success of North Dakota's Start-Up Community, Helps Announce $3.2 Million Air Force Contract for Elinor Coatings

Senator Advancing Legislation to Support Investment in Start-Ups, Provide Entrepreneurs Greater Access to Portable Benefits

FARGO, N.D. – At the fifth-annual 1 Million Cups (1MC) Reunion today, Senator John Hoeven marked the successes of the region’s start-up community and outlined his efforts to support their continued growth, including introducing the Support our Start-Ups Act, bipartisan legislation with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) that enables entrepreneurs to deduct more of the start-up costs for their business so they can invest more in making their business a success. As part of the event, Hoeven joined the owners of Elinor Coatings in announcing a $3.2 million Air Force contract to support the development of protective coatings for the nation’s aircraft and ships. As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured funding in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 to support this research and connected Elinor Coatings with Air Force officials to help advance the company’s bid.  

In his remarks, Hoeven stressed the importance of tech entrepreneurship, which serves as the third wave in North Dakota’s economic growth, following growth in the state’s agriculture and energy industries. Accordingly, Hoeven, who serves as a member of the Entrepreneurship Caucus, is advancing legislation that will help entrepreneurs invest in their operations and have greater certainty as they move to start their own businesses. Further, through initiatives like the Centers of Excellence program and his annual State of Technology Conference, the senator has helped promote new opportunities for innovation and investment, both in the state’s traditional industries and in newer sectors, including mobile technology, biotech and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

“We have a robust and dynamic start-up community in North Dakota, something we’ve worked a long time to establish and continue to promote, and it has rightfully garnered national attention,” said Hoeven. “One such innovative company is Elinor Coatings, whose technology showed clear benefits for the nation’s military vessels, among its many other applications. That’s why we worked to connect them with the Air Force and secure a contract that will serve as a major support in the company’s future growth. As we mark this year’s 1MC reunion, we congratulate them and all of our state’s entrepreneurs for their successes as well as their continued determination. These start-ups are the future of our economy, which is why we are working to provide the support they need, whether it’s through more investment in their businesses, greater access to benefits or better education opportunities.”

Hoeven’s legislative efforts to advance technology entrepreneurship include:

  • The bipartisan Support our Start-Ups Act will empower new small businesses to put money back into their operations sooner by increasing the start-up deduction from $5,000 to $20,000 and upping the phase-out threshold from $50,000 to $120,000. The bill would also expand the deduction so all start-ups can benefits regardless if they are organized as a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship.
  •  The Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act. This bipartisan bill, which Hoeven helped reintroduce last year, would make portable benefits more accessible for entrepreneurs and provide greater certainty for them and their families. 
  •  Supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, where he helped secured $1.2 billion for Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants as well as dedicated STEM funding within the Education Innovation and Research program in FY2019.
  • Cosponsoring legislation to promote college affordability:
    • Employer Participation in Repayment Act – would allow employers to provide tax-free student loan repayment up to $5,250 per year.
    • Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act – would extend Pell grant eligibility to students pursuing high-quality, shorter-term job training programs that meet regional workforce needs.