Hoeven Outlines Rise of North Dakota's Tech Sector, Efforts to Support Entrepreneurship & STEM Education

Senator Addresses Students at Great Northern Regional Robotics Competition

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – At the Great Northern Regional Robotics Competition today, Senator John Hoeven outlined his efforts as a member of the Entrepreneurship Caucus to grow North Dakota’s technology sector and highlighted its impacts across the other sectors of the state’s economy, providing students with a wide range of career opportunities. 

The senator stressed that technology serves as the third wave of the state’s economic growth, following expansions in agriculture and energy, and the importance of preparing students to fill the jobs of the future. Hoeven has worked since his time as governor to advance these priorities, including through initiatives like the Centers of Excellence program and his annual State of Technology Conference, and continues his efforts to:

  • Support the state as a hub of tech entrepreneurship.
  • Expand access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and promote college affordability.
  • Invest in broadband infrastructure to advance the implementation of new technologies, like precision agriculture.

“It’s an exciting time to prepare for a career in North Dakota, with our growing technology sector opening up entirely new fields while also creating a different set of opportunities within our existing industries,” said Hoeven. “We’ve worked for two decades to create this kind of business climate, and we’re going to keep advancing efforts to support our tech entrepreneurs and provide our students the kind of education that sets them up for success. The legislation I’m advancing will give greater certainty as people establish and grow new businesses, support better access to STEM education and ensure we invest in the infrastructure we need, like broadband, to sustain a growing tech economy.” 


Hoeven is advancing measures like the Support Our Start-Ups Act, bipartisan legislation he introduced with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) to enable entrepreneurs to deduct more of the start-up costs for their business and invest more into their operations sooner. The senator also helped introduce the Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act. This bipartisan bill would make portable benefits more accessible for entrepreneurs and provide greater certainty for them and their families. 


The senator cosponsored legislation that was signed into law this year to support veterans as they pursue STEM careers by making them eligible for National Science Foundation (NSF) programs and directing the agency to enhance outreach to veterans. A similar Hoeven-cosponsored measure was signed into law last year as well to expand NSF STEM initiatives to young children and increase their interest in these fields at an earlier age. 

Further, Hoeven secured strong funding through the Senate Appropriations Committee for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) programs to help ensure adequate support for student and faculty research at universities like NDSU and UND. In addition to his STEM-specific efforts, Hoeven is cosponsoring the following measures to improve college affordability:

  • Employer Participation in Repayment Act, which would allow employers to provide tax-free student loan repayment up to $5,250 per year.
  • Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, a bill to extend Pell grant eligibility to students pursuing high-quality, shorter-term job training programs that meet regional workforce needs.


Hoeven has been working as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee to advance the deployment of rural broadband, and accordingly, he has secured more than $1.6 billion across fiscal years 2018-2020 for the ReConnect Program, a rural broadband loan and grant pilot program. The senator also cosponsored:

  • The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which passed as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, to ensure adequate broadband access in rural areas and on farm and ranchland.
  • The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which passed the Senate in December, to improve federal broadband mapping.