Hoeven Outlines Efforts to Support Startups and Grow North Dakota’s Tech Sector at Watford City Entrepreneurial Summit

Senator Discusses Legislation He Is Cosponsoring to Allow Self-Employed Workers Greater Access to Portable Benefits

WATFORD CITY, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today outlined his efforts to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses across North Dakota at the Entrepreneur EcoSummit. Today’s workshop is hosted by the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration’s North Dakota District Office, the state’s Small Business Development Centers and Fargo-based non-profit Emerging Prairie and seeks to encourage the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region that encourages innovators and startups to network and discover opportunities to commercialize new products and services and develop their businesses.

“Small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy,” said Hoeven. “These individuals take on tremendous risk to pursue their passions and bring new products and services to market to improve our quality of life. That’s why it is so important that we establish a business climate that helps them succeed. We continue to take important steps toward this goal by providing significant tax and regulatory relief for our small businesses. Further, we are advancing measures like the bipartisan bill I am cosponsoring to make portable benefits more accessible for our entrepreneurs. Measures like this will provide greater certainty for them and their families as they start out on these new ventures, helping ensure continued innovation and a dynamic and growing economy.”

Among other items, the senator discussed bipartisan legislation he is cosponsoring, the Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act, which would direct the Secretary of Labor to fund and evaluate innovative models for providing benefits to independent workers, including self-employed entrepreneurs, which can move with a worker from job to job. The bill incentivizes states, localities and nonprofit organizations to experiment with portable benefits models, which could include health insurance, retirement savings, workers compensation, life or disability insurance, sick leave, training and educational benefits. Through this pilot program, Hoeven hopes to establish a model that allows more entrepreneurs to take the risk of starting new businesses, while ensuring greater financial security and well-being for themselves and their families.

Since his time as governor, Hoeven has worked to position North Dakota’s technology sector for growth, naming it as one of the state’s five targeted industries. Hoeven continues working as a member of the Senate GOP High Tech Task Force to build a pro-growth business climate that encourages innovation and investment. Further, through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is committed to securing strong support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.