FOREWORD ?

In February 2021, The Nice Center released its second annual report. It captures our activity from 2020 as we responded to and learned from a global pandemic. It also reflects radical changes in the way we deliver impact to the state of North Dakota.

There are three ways to see the 2020 Annual Report:

  1. Download a PDF of the report here: 2020 Annual Report
  2. Share your mailing address here, and we will send you a copy
  3. View the online version of the report below

Thank you for taking time to learn about our work and what we are trying to achieve. We look forward to your help as we pursue our mission of entrepreneurship for all.


TABLE OF CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION ?

The Nice Center at North Dakota State University was founded in January 2019 with the audacious vision of entrepreneurship for all.

Over that time, we have fulfilled our land-grant mission by serving over 15,000 people across campus, the Fargo-Moorhead community, and the state of North Dakota. Along with our talented student workers, we helped 100+ businesses move their operations online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic last spring.

Last fall, we brought entrepreneurship programming to high schools in half of the state of ND. Throughout the year, we taught over 300 students in the classroom and alongside industry partners as we launched solutions to problems facing North Dakota businesses.

We approach our work like an entrepreneur. We find a problem, try to solve it, and learn from the results. We have listened to feedback from students, faculty, community members, and collaborators across the country. As we move into 2021, we realize that we can do more.

If we truly want to fulfill the vision of entrepreneurship for all and our land-grant mission—our raison d’être—we have to think bigger and serve the entire state.

That’s why we’re excited to share our moonshot, the audacious, mission-driven goal we are working toward for the next half decade:

By the end of 2025, The Nice Center will introduce entrepreneurship to 95% of North Dakota high school and university students, grades 9 through graduate school.

 

 

Scott D. Meyer
Ozbun Executive Director of Entrepreneurship


OUR TEAM ?

Meet the team behind the work. Our team changed this year as Dane Johnson moved home to California and Kodee Furst joined the team, working for The Nice Center from Dickinson, ND.

Scott D. Meyer Ozbun Executive Director
Kodee Furst Programs Manager

OUR MOONSHOT ?

North Dakota State University serves the state of North Dakota.

The 1862 Morrill Act that established land-grant universities asks us to “promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.”

NDSU’s mission statement clarifies this call-to-arms, pursuing education, research, and community engagement “that meets the needs of North Dakota and the world.”

No skill is more practical or needed in a changing world than entrepreneurship.

The Nice Center is not only perfectly positioned to share this essential skill—it’s required of us. Hence our moonshot: 95×25.


OUR BELIEFS ?

We pursue entrepreneurship for all in three core areas: education, experience, and equity. Our work across all three areas is based on five core beliefs.


Nice Center Education Banner

We help students learn by developing a new skill and worldview. We educate students by providing scholarships as well as credentialing and certifying for their work. We help faculty integrate entrepreneurship into their courses and research.

We measure our education work by number of people served. We plan on supporting over 20,000 ND students in 2021, up from 9,400 total participants in 2020. We will provide over $100,000 in entrepreneurship scholarships in 2021.


Key Programs


 

Nice Idea

Nice Idea is a free entrepreneurship program for North Dakota middle and high school students. They learn to be creative and entrepreneurial, connect with actual problems that need solving, and showcase their ideas to win support to make those ideas a reality.

In 2020, Nice Idea participants learned the power of win/win partnership, design thinking, and opportunity mindset. Teams designed ideas to expand 3D printers in schools, recruit diverse students for a new school in the Twin Cities, and increase consumer confidence in a retail store in central North Dakota.

In 2021, we plan on doubling our participation to support 1,000 students in Nice Idea by increasing the number of partner schools and organizations.

NiceX + Nice Passport

The Nice Center collaborates with partners across NDSU and with industry leaders to host and promote entrepreneurial events for students. These events teach students design thinking, ideation, and pitching while helping them build a network.

In 2020, our students tackled challenges like increasing access to rural health care, improving equity at NDSU, and creating cultural activities in downtown Fargo for students under 21.

In 2021, we plan on partnering with 15 industry partners while deepening our collaboration with the Challey Institute, colleges across NDSU, high schools, and other institutions to bring educational events to over 10,000 students.

Entrepreneurship Courses


NDSU offers an entrepreneurship certificate and an entrepreneurship minor. These courses, which The Nice Center helps teach, provide experience and foundational information to help students think and work like entrepreneurs.

The Nice Center also supports students studying or doing entrepreneurship through scholarship. In 2020, 148 students took entrepreneurship courses taught by The Nice Center, with hundreds more studying entrepreneurship across campus. Seven faculty members were Nice Faculty Fellows, integrating entrepreneurship into their work. $108,000 was given in scholarships to 69 students.

In 2021, we aim to spread entrepreneurship courses across campus and the state. This includes online, on-demand, dual credit options for high school students and additional design thinking and entrepreneurship courses in other NDSU departments. We aim for 10,000 students taking one of our courses, including 300+ at NDSU.


The best way to learn entrepreneurship is to do it. The Nice Center helps students move from education to experience by forming teams to launch their ideas. We plan on supporting over 500 student teams in 2021 that create and pitch an idea, up from 49 student teams in 2020.


KEY PROGRAMS


 

Nice Starts

Nice Starts helped entrepreneurs launch crowdfunding campaigns to launch their business.

ND Innovation Day

In November, The Nice Center hosted ND Innovation Day, a showcase of innovative ideas from ND high school and college students.

COVID-19 Response

The Nice Center connects campus and the community. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our students helped entrepreneurs and businesses across the state.


We believe entrepreneurship promotes equity. We believe in a just, equitable world where entrepreneurship for all isn’t a moonshot, but instead a reality.

Those beliefs aren’t new to us, but the social unrest, increasing gap of racial inequality, and staggering number of women leaving the workforce throughout 2020 has made equity a moral and economic imperative to our work.

Nice Leadership Council

In the fall of 2020, we sought out the brightest and kindest humans we could find to serve on our Leadership Council. Their insights and perspectives challenge us to think bigger about our impact and ensure our work continues to stay focused on what matters. Meet The Nice Leadership Council.


WHAT’S NEXT ?